Palliative medication can be effective, even if provided over the telephone

Miami.- palliative medicine is experiencing significant growth in usaBecause more and more people are opting for this type of specialized care that provides better quality care to ill family members.

However, A recent clinical trial conducted by experts at the University of Colorado School of Medicine discovered that people suffering from life-threatening chronic diseases can receive palliative care and effective support to improve their health and quality of life, even when provided by telephone.

The goal of palliative care is to help people facing serious health problems such as cancer, dementia or lung diseases feel better physically and mentally by preventing or treating the symptoms and side effects of the condition and treatment.

For this study, the team of researchers provided telephone counseling to half of a group of 306 patients in two Veterans Administration health care systems located in Colorado and Washington.

These patients had one of three chronic diseases that carry a high risk of death, and they were not being treated in a hospital, so the quality of their care was poor. These conditions were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and interstitial lung disease.

Patients were assigned to a group and received 12 consultation telephone calls over a four-month period, including six calls with a nurse to assist with symptom management and six calls with a social worker to provide therapy and support.

While people in the other group received an educational booklet that described self-care for their chronic illness.

improve quality of life

The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that seriously ill older adults suffering from lung or heart disease A palliative care program delivered over the phone led to significant improvements in depression, anxiety and quality of life,

The group of scientists found that patients who were at high risk of death had a significant improvement in quality of life at six months, more than patients in the control group.

People who received telephone counseling also had improvements in their COPD or heart failure.

The lead author of the study, Dr. David BeckelmanThe University of Colorado School of Medicine professor said that while a lot of good work has been done in caring for these patients, there is much more we can do to improve quality of life.

“Many people have persistent symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, shortness of breath and sleep problems, which can make living with these diseases very difficult despite treatment, and are linked to earlier death. We need to fill the gaps and provide more for these patients,” Bekelman said.

Researchers highlight that palliative care can help. However, access to outpatient palliative care specialists is limited or nonexistent, so new, scalable approaches to providing prompt palliative care are needed.

How was the analysis done?

Patients were assigned to a group and received 12 consultation telephone calls over a four-month period, including six calls with a nurse to assist with symptom management and six calls with a social worker to provide therapy and support.

As described in the article, nurses and social workers held frequent meetings with the primary care and palliative care doctor to review each patient’s condition and determine the best way to address their problems. They also had access to a cardiologist or pulmonologist as needed.

An adaptable and scalable solution

Beckelman’s team said the program provided supportive care that is not widely available, addressing health problems that might not be noticed in routine doctor visits.

He said the program shows that providing structured telecare, even in the short term, can result in a higher quality of life months after the call ends.

He assured that this innovative team care model is scalable and adaptable, and in the future it could help improve the lives of people suffering from these diseases.

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waterfall: With information from the Journal of the American Medical Association

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