March 2024 Digest of News for Palliative Care Specialists

The Russian version of the Digest is available via the link

What is a Good Death?

The first large-scale study to consider not only the presence or absence of a country's national palliative care strategy, access to opioids and mental health support, organisational staffing levels, clinical training and other similar aspects of care, but also the preferences of patients and caregivers themselves. For example, the results convincingly showed that dying in a place of the patient's choosing or having access to friends and family mattered more than a small increase in life expectancy or even pain relief.

Read more conclusions defining and complementing the concept of “good death” in the article.


Palliative care perspectives of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension

“[When I was hospitalised], a social worker talked about making a living will or my Five Wishes. I haven’t opened it because I’m so scared. I’d just rather carry around a blank piece of paper than put anything down.” 36-yr-old woman on IV prostacyclin.

A large number of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) feel that palliative care is not currently appropriate for them, as PAH is often characterised by indolent progression. Medical specialists see this state of affairs as a problem, so the researchers set a goal to identify factors that are perceived by patients as preventing the implementation of palliative care and to find ways to integrate it.


How to prepare, plan, and be present — a handy resource for clinicians and patients to collaborate

An excellent project of the American National Organization for Hospice and Palliative Care, which can become an intermediary between a terminally ill person and a doctor. Understanding and using available resources, whether the reader is a patient or a caregiver, can be challenging. This information portal is designed to help guide and create the most appropriate end-of-life experience for the patient and their loved ones.


How to take care of trans patients in hospice?

In any society, people who have made a gender transition - transgender people - live, get sick and die. These people's wishes at the end of life are no different from those of other patients: they do not want to experience suffering and they want their decisions to be respected. But also, their approach to the end of life comes with some unique needs that could potentially lead to poor treatment by medical personnel and even clergy. The authors of the article are convinced that difficulties arise due to a lack of understanding or knowledge about transgender identity. And they give some useful recommendations for working with such patients.


Music is a universal non-pharmacological pain reliever

The practice described in the article shows that patients receiving palliative and hospice care who listen to live music in their rooms during treatment feel better emotionally and physically. They are also asking for fewer opioid-based medications. This allows for the use of non-pharmacological approaches in the care of seriously ill patients and provides a basis for providing interventions in palliative care.