Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hospice and Palliative Care Blogs

In his generous effort to help providers and consumers of hospice and palliative care to find and connect with one another, Pallimed Co-Editor Christian Sinclair has posted his Updated List of Hospice and Palliative Care Blogs.  If you're not familiar with Dr. Sinclair’s enthusiasm for using the power of social networks to advocate for patients and families in hospice and palliative care, take a look at his slide show  depicting “how the hospice and palliative medicine field rallied to help overturn a FDA ruling that would have severely limited access to morphine, an essential medicine for pain control.”

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trouble Gaining Access to Medical Records?

Having spent the better part of the last three weeks frustrated in my own attempts to obtain copies of lab reports so I could take the results to the various physicians involved in treating my own health issues, I’m especially appreciative of this January 14 report by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior  Medical Correspondent: Patients demand: ‘Give us our damned data!’

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Use of Social Technologies in Healthcare

This HCPLive article summarizes some of the biggest stories and trends in healthcare social media (including the use of Twitter, Facebook and blogs) from 2009. “Compared to how things were a couple of years ago,” the editors write,” the current level of penetration, acceptance, and utilization of social media tools of all stripes within healthcare is striking.” How Tweet It Is: A Look Back at the Year in Healthcare Social Media

See also:
Harnessing New and Social Media to Prevent Suicide 
Doctors Ignore Internet at Their Own Peril

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hospice: A Gift to Patients and Families

Scott Passmore of AZFamily.com discovered firsthand the benefits of hospice when his father recently lost his battle with lung cancer. In this interview with Cathy Brown, RN, CHPN, Clinical Educator at Hospice of the Valley, he expresses his appreciation for the compassionate care his dad received, and encourages others to consider hospice as a gift that empowers both patients and their family members:
Scott Passmore Says Thank You

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How You Can Help in Haiti

As we send forth our compassionate prayers, loving thoughts and healing energy to the suffering in Haiti, the White House Office of the Press Secretary offers the following information:

For the most up to date information throughout the coming days, please continue to monitor http://www.whitehouse.gov/HaitiEarthquake.

A top priority is accounting for the thousands of American citizens who are currently in Haiti. Families of Americans living in Haiti who are trying to find the status of their loved ones are encouraged to contact the State Department at 1-888-407-4747. This line is experiencing a high volume of calls at this time, so we ask for your continued patience.

Cash donations are the most efficient and effective way to help the relief effort in Haiti right now. They allow humanitarian organizations to purchase (often within the affected region itself) the exact type and quantity of items needed by those affected by the crisis. Read about the advantages of monetary donations here. You can immediately donate to the Red Cross to assist the relief effort. Contribute online to the Red Cross, or donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill by texting "HAITI" to "90999." You can also find more ways to help through the Center for International Disaster Information, or through USAID’s interactive website, which has a list of NGOs and instructions on how to help: http://www.usaid.gov/.

Right now, the airport is being used to facilitate search and rescue efforts. This is a complex and difficult environment, and all of our efforts have to be focused on prioritizing and moving the right resources into Haiti that can save lives in the next 48 hours. That is why we are encouraging private citizens to focus their efforts on supporting established aid organizations that are deploying resources to Haiti, and to hold off on traveling there themselves.

We ask that you keep track of offers of in kind services and supplies being offered in your communities in the coming days so that as needs on the ground are assessed we can quickly turn around the resources and get them to Haiti. Those looking to donate time, supplies or funds should contact the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) at 703-276-1914, or visit them online at http://www.cidi.org/incident/haiti-10a/.

We will have continued outreach calls on this issue as we continue to learn more about the situation on the ground and resources needed in the coming days. 

The American Nurses Association  issued the following announcement this afternoon: 

The American Nurses Association (ANA) would like to convey our deepest sympathies to those who have suffered incalculable losses. For nurses who have expressed an interest helping with the relief and recovery efforts, ANA encourages anyone interested in becoming a first responder to pre-register with one of the many disaster registries and response organizations that already exist. These groups ensure that volunteers will have access to training and will be utilized according to the appropriate response plans.  See Volunteer Now for further information. 

Best Friends Animal Society, along with other international animal welfare organizations, has joined the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) . Together, they’ll be providing food, water, rabies vaccinations, safety and more for countless animals.  For updates, visit Best Friends Rapid Response.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This Emotional Life TV Series and Web Site

This Emotional Life is a fascinating television series that aired last week on PBS, aimed at identifying the key to human happiness. It is hosted by Daniel Todd Gilbert, a social psychology professor at Harvard and author of the best selling book, Stumbling on Happiness. Split into three segments lasting two hours each, the program examines the importance of social connections and human relationships, how they can go right or wrong, and what we can do to make them better.

The first segment (Family, Friends & Lovers) features the stories of several different individuals and families struggling to stay connected, and concludes that, since we humans have a basic need for love and are “wired to connect,” our happiness lies in each other’s hands. The second part (Facing Our Fears) explores negative emotions as impediments to happiness, and shares new discoveries about and effective tools for the management of anger, anxiety and depression. The third installment (Rethinking Happiness) looks at the power of resilience and forgiveness, along with empirically and scientifically based self-help programs such as positive psychology and meditation. The importance of mental as well as physical exercise is emphasized, along with the value of identifying our strengths and building upon them. Finding happiness is a choice, Gilbert concludes, and the most important factor is social connection: maintaining successful relationships with family, friends and other social groups.

In addition to affording us an opportunity to view each of the three segments in their entirety, the PBS Web site, This Emotional Life offers a treasure trove of additional information, resources and access to social support. The Topics section offers in-depth information on any number of mental and emotional health issues, including attachment, bullying, grief and loss, addiction, ADHD, autism, depression, PTSD, forgiveness, humor and more. Perspectives is a collection of videos, interviews, and stories. People & Blogs offers personal stories and expert insight. Resource Finder features recommended resources and promises a national data base of support organizations. The TV series itself, along with an overview of all three episodes, is found on the TV Series tab and can be downloaded for individual viewing at your convenience.  

In addition to all of that, because of the need for urgent help and the potential for deep impact, the project focuses on two special areas of concern: Early Childhood Attachment  and Military Service Members.

As described on its Facebook page (yet another rich source of information as well as interesting viewer commentary),
The impact of the project will also be extended by organizations already working in the area of happiness, fulfillment and mental health and wellness. These partners will assist in developing content and in distributing our materials and resources (online and offline through our toolkits). Leading medical and health sciences organizations from around the country have recognized the potential impact and value of this multi-faceted project and are assisting in developing content and will be taking part in events and distributing materials and resources. Partners include The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Mayo Clinic, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, as well as representatives from federal agencies and leading research institutions. Other partnerships at both the national and local level will be added as the campaign continues to grow.