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Palliative Care

Boston, MA-An intervention called the Serious Illness Care Program uses a systematic approach to train and support clinicians in conducting conversations about goals of care with their patients, thereby improving patient outcomes, according to Rachelle Bernacki, MD, MS, who presented the preliminary results of the study at the recent Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium.
Palliative care is a key component of quality care. Oncology nurses have many of the skill sets for providing generalist quality care and are poised to play a major role in advocating and transforming palliative care for patients with cancer.
Early integration of palliative care into oncology programs improves quality of life for patients and caregivers, increases prognostic understanding, and demonstrates survival benefits while substantially reducing costs...

Due to the tremendous physical, psychological, and economic burdens of end-stage diseases, there now is an increasing need for palliative care as an integral part of the treatment plan in the management of radiation oncology patients, according to Marilyn Haas, PhD, nurse practitioner at CarePartners Supportive and Palliative Services, Asheville, North Carolina. In addition, she said that integrating palliative care earlier rather than later may be especially important in those patients with metastatic disease.

The healthcare system is only beginning to recognize what nurses who tend patients with cancer have always known: The loved ones of dying patients also need help managing pain. Julie Cronin, BSN, RN, OCN, an oncology nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, says failing to address family members’ distress has serious consequences. “If the spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental needs of these loved ones are neglected, the rates of morbidity and mortality, depression, and risk for ineffective coping can skyrocket.”

CHICAGO—Flaxseed failed to have a significant effect on reducing hot flashes in women compared with placebo, according to results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial supported by the North Central Cancer Treatment Group. The study included breast cancer survivors as well as women who had never had breast cancer who experienced frequent hot flashes throughout the day and night.

CHICAGO—Both patients and practitioners realize the importance of psychosocial issues, but today’s cancer care often fails to address them. Steps to resolve this problem are under way, according to experts at an education session.

CHICAGO—Oncology nurses know that nutrition interventions can help their patients, both during and after active treatment. But the evidence is scant, and personalizing it for each patient can be a challenge. To help, nutrition experts provided useful tips for nurses, along with a discussion of the evidence.

BOSTON—Treating patients with cancer who are morbidly obese presents unexpected challenges according to Vita Norton, RN, BSN, OCN, and Michelle Howard, RN, BSN, of Mass - achusetts General Hospital in Boston. Data indicate that obesity significantly increases the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers and is associated with worse outcomes.

BOSTON—Recognizing steroid-induced hyperglycemia early and addressing it promptly can prevent significant ad - verse effects associated with this complication. Educating patients on the importance of and methods for maintaining good blood glucose control helps mitigate damage to the vascular system and kidneys from hyperglycemia. It also lessens susceptibility to infection, a complication of hyperglycemia that is of serious concern in immunocompromised patients.

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