Is Palliative Care the Answer to the Medical Aid in Dying Discussion?
Oncology nurse scientists have pioneered efforts in symptom management research, including palliative and end-of-life care studies. Healthcare providers and researchers have strong consensus that palliative interventions should begin at the time of diagnosis for patients with cancer. The Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing and Oncology Nursing Forum have published excellent articles in nearly every issue on topics of palliative care, quality of life, and symptom management issues.
How Can Nurses Help Patients Understand End-of-Life Options?
When physician-assisted death mandates were passed in states like Oregon, Washington, and California, guidelines were established for practitioners as part of election mandates. However, in states like Montana and Vermont, the legalization of assisted death went through the legislature without process and practice guidelines. Therefore, practitioners have little or no framework to implement the process of medical aid in dying.
What to Do When Your Patients Talk About Medical Aid in Dying
Despite groundbreaking treatments, novel medications, fast-tracked drug approvals, and cutting-edge science, a terminal diagnosis is still a reality for many patients with cancer. Having end-of-life discussions with patients and their family members is a difficult part of oncology nursing, but it’s necessary to provide the highest quality of care and education possible. With more news reports emerging about states introducing—and passing—medical aid in dying legislation, oncology nurses will face questions about the process from patients and caregivers.
How to Have Ethical Discussions in Your Practice
Having an outlet to consider, discuss, and reflect on oncology ethical issues that affect our daily practice is important in caring for each other in our profession. On our solid tumor oncology unit, monthly nursing ethics lunch and learns allow our nurses the opportunity to identify and discuss their concerns with recent patient cases involving ethical issues. Our hospital’s ethics committee chair facilitates the hour-long discussions held on the unit, along with a senior oncology nurse with significant training and background in clinical ethics.
GOP Steers Away From Obamacare Repeal, Replace; Is Cigarette Prohibition on the Horizon?; Barbara Bush’s End-of-Life Decision Makes Waves
After a flurry of proposed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare—the unofficial name for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)— the GOP has shifted its focus to other policy issues. In fact, many Republican senators and congressional representatives have removed any mention of the healthcare law from their websites. With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, GOP lawmakers are seemingly breaking with the Trump administration’s stance on the healthcare law, recognizing that their constituents may be in favor of the ACA’s many protections.
What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Cultural Differences During End-of-Life Care
Beyond the emotional complexities of end-of-life care, a multitude of cultural nuances and differences can affect the care that oncology nurses need to provide to their patients and family members. As the face of the healthcare team, oncology nurses are often called on to navigate this delicate area within the cancer continuum.
The Case of the Comfort Care Concerns
Phil is a 63-year-old man who is admitted to the inpatient oncology unit for severe pain resulting from metastatic small cell lung cancer. His wife and two daughters are at his bedside. Earlier in the day, the medical oncologist discussed additional treatment options or hospice care. Phil decided on comfort care with the hope of getting his pain managed and going home on hospice.
Ethnic Minority Patients May Receive Inferior End-of-Life Care
According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, African American and Hispanic patients with ovarian cancer who lived in Texas were more likely to receive invasive or toxic treatment and be admitted to intensive care in their final month of life than their Caucasian counterparts.
Chemotherapy Use Near the End of Life Is More Common in United States
National guidelines suggest that the use of chemotherapy near end of life (EOL) is aggressive and is associated with poorer patient quality of life. In addition, Medicare payments for outpatient chemotherapy have decreased since around 2005–2006. In a recent study presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting, researchers evaluated the impact of U.S. payment reform and guidelines on chemotherapy use at EOL, comparing chemotherapy use at EOL in the United States and other countries.