October Digest of News for Palliative Care Specialists

Every month, the PACED team prepares a digest of international materials and news about palliative care.
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“Hospice care becomes a sanctuary where patients can craft their final chapters”

Despite the well-known postulate that hospice care neither shortens nor prolongs life, recent research suggests that hospice patients live longer than those who forgo the benefits of this type of medical care. The author discusses critical factors contributing to this life-prolonging phenomenon and reminds us that even the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, is currently a hospice patient, a fact openly disclosed by his representatives.


Patients and caregivers. How is mutual support established?

Patients with incurable diseases rely not only on professional healthcare support but also heavily depend on their families, who take on the role of caregivers. Based on a large regional palliative care service in Ireland, researchers have investigated how the voluntary nature of caregiving commitments affects the relationship between the patient and the caregiver from his/her family. They explore how these relationships impact critical end-of-life planning decisions.


Case Report: leptomeningeal carcinomatosis and palliative care

Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis is a rare, difficult to diagnose, and severe oncological complication associated with the spread of cancer cells to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This clinical case study extensively describes the diagnostic stages that led to an important decision to early refer the patient to a palliative care unit, resulting in an improvement in the patient's and her family's quality of life. Within 24 hours of meeting with the palliative care team, the distressing symptoms were controlled, and the patient and her husband expressed a desire to return to their homeland to be closer to their family.


Death literacy among healthcare professionals is dismal

This article reflects on how chaotic the training in palliative care is among medical specialists. Despite the growing demand for end-of-life care services, we are faced with the issue of a limited number of specially trained and certified experts. For many physicians, discussing hospice care is challenging as they fear shattering hopes of recovery, yet early palliative care provision can be the final gift they can offer to their patients.


The Sunflower — Palliative care podcasts

The Canadian nonprofit organisation Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration has launched The Sunflower podcast. Hosts explore paediatric palliative care in their unique style, addressing respiratory support, integrating palliative care into family life, and myths and facts about grieving. These conversations are easy to listen to, as they are filled with curiosity, humour, and genuine interest in our subject.