The need to improve access to palliative care across multiple settings and disease groups has been identified. This requires equipping health care professionals from many different professions, including physicians and nurses, among others, with basic palliative care competencies to provide a palliative care approach. Pallium Canada's Curriculum Development Framework supports the development, deployment, and dissemination, on a large scale, of multiple courses targeting health care professionals across multiple settings of care and disease groups. The Framework is made up of eight phases: (1) Concept, (2) Decision, (3) Curriculum Planning, (4) Prototype Development, (5) Piloting, (6) Dissemination, (7) Language and Cultural Adaptation, and (8) Ongoing Maintenance and Updates. Several of these phases include iterative cyclical activities. The framework allows multiple courses to be developed simultaneously, staggered in a production line with each phase and their corresponding activities requiring different levels of resources and stakeholder engagement. The framework has allowed Pallium Canada to develop, launch, and maintain numerous versions of its Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care (LEAP) courses concurrently. It leverages existing LEAP courses and curriculum materials to produce new LEAP courses, allowing significant efficiencies and maximizing output. This article describes the framework and its various activities, which we believe could be very useful for other jurisdictions undertaking the work of developing education programs to spread the palliative care approach across multiple settings, specialties, and disease groups.
In 2008, a Canadian strategy called the "Educating Future Physicians in Palliative and End-of-Life Care" (EFPPEC) project published national medical undergraduate competencies for palliative and end-of-life care. Since that time, there have been several changes in the practice environment. To formally incorporate these changes and also update the competencies for EFPPEC, an EFPPEC update project team was established in 2017. The EFPPEC update document in English was finalized in June 2018, and subsequent minor amendments to the French version were completed in January 2019. This report describes the process and also shares the new updated EFPPEC competencies with the wider palliative care community.
A significant proportion of secondary school pupils in the UK have experienced the death of someone close. Bereavement in childhood can have a significant and long lasting impact. The aim of this study was to explore how pupils aged between 12 and 18 understand major loss, death and dying, whom they talk to and the support they access at these times, and their awareness of the range of support available to them. A total of 31 pupils, 108 parents and 37 staff from a large Scottish secondary school took part and data was collected using online questionnaires. A high proportion of pupils had experience of major loss or bereavement and showed significant awareness of their feelings and responses to these. It appears that young people primarily seek support from family and friends, but the role of peers is less well recognised by parents and teachers. The school was recognised as a source of support mainly by teachers.
Background: Palliative care aims to improve suffering and quality of life for patients with life-limiting disease. This study evaluated an interdisciplinary palliative consultation team for outpatients with advanced cancer at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. This team traditionally offered palliative medicine and recently integrated a specialized psychosocial clinician. Historic patient-reported clinical outcomes were reviewed. There were no a priori hypotheses.
Methods: A total of 180 chart reviews were performed in 8 sample months in 2015 and 2016; 114 patients were included. All patients were referred for management of complex cancer symptomatology by oncology or palliative care clinicians. Patients attended initial interviews in person; palliative medicine follow-ups were largely performed by telephone, and psychosocial appointments were conducted in person for those who were interested and had psychosocial concerns. Chart review included collection of demographics, medical information, and screening for distress measures at referral, initial consult, and discharge.
Results: A total of 51% of the patient sample were men, 81% were living with a partner, and 87% had an advanced cancer diagnosis. Patients were grouped based on high, moderate, or low scores for 5 symptoms (pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and well-being). High scores on all 5 symptoms decreased from referral to discharge. Pain and anxiety decreased in the moderate group. All 5 low scores increased significantly. Sleep, frustration/anger, sense of burdening others, and sensitivity to cold were less frequently endorsed by discharge.
Conclusions: Patients who completed this interdisciplinary palliative consult service appeared to experience a reduction in their most severe symptoms. Visits to patients during existing appointments or having them attend a half-day clinic appears to have reached those referred. With interdisciplinary integration, clinicians are able to collaborate to address patient care needs. Considerations include how to further integrate palliative and psychosocial care to achieve additional benefits and ongoing monitoring of changes in symptom burden.
Palliative care providers across India lobbied to gain access to methadone for pain relief and this has finally been achieved. Palliative care activists will count on the numerous strengths for introducing methadone in India, including the various national and state government initiatives that have been introduced recognizing the importance of palliative care as a specialty in addition to improving opioid accessibility and training. Adding to the support are the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the medical fraternity and the international interactive and innovative programs such as the Project Extension for Community Health Outcome. As compelling as the need for methadone is, many challenges await. This article outlines the challenges of procuring methadone and also discusses the challenges specific to methadone. Balancing the availability and diversion in a setting of opioid phobia, implementing the amended laws to improve availability and accessibility in a country with diverse health-care practices are the major challenges in implementing methadone for relief of pain. The unique pharmacology of the drug requires meticulous patient selection, vigilant monitoring, and excellent communication and collaboration with a multidisciplinary team and caregivers. The psychological acceptance of the patient, the professional training of the team and the place where care is provided are also challenges which need to be overcome. These challenges could well be the catalyst for a more diligent and vigilant approach to opioid prescribing practices. Start low, go slow could well be the way forward with caregiver education to prescribe methadone safely in the Indian palliative care setting.
Since the 2014 Amendment to the NDPS Act methadone has been released in India for pain management. The methadone is supplied as racemic mixture with R & S methadone with benefit in pain management and associated adverse effects. Physicians need to be aware of adverse effects so that methadone can be administered safely. Similarly, patients and families need to store and use methadone carefully and experience the benefits and not increase the risk of further morbidity. Considerable amount of literature on methadone is available and sometimes conflicting, hence the article is attempting to guide a physician to use methadone safely to acquire experience and expertise over time.