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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
Most people with advanced disease experience uncontrolled symptoms such as fatigue, pain or breathlessness, which can interfere with their daily lives. To help overcome these symptoms opioids are often prescribed for symptom relief to help patients, which enables them to do activities they were unable to do such as walking, climbing a flight of stairs and driving. Diana Ferreira discusses the importance for clinicians and researchers alike to critically consider the issues of driving and opioid use for people receiving palliative care.
Part of holistic health care is the recognition that humans are sexual beings. Evidence tells us that the sexual needs of patients receiving palliative care are often not met. Brigitte Karle of Neringah Hospital discusses how they investigated gaps in their practice and how they could improve the ability to provide holistic care of their patients including support for intimacy and sexuality.
Technological advances are enabling the integration of mobile healthcare Apps into the self-management plans for people living with various chronic and complex conditions. Priyanka Bhattarai discusses her research into investigating if self-management Apps are a feasible and acceptable modality to assist older people in the community to better manage their arthritic pain. The potential extension of this to palliative care is also discussed.
Advances in medicine mean health care professionals can prolong life, yet some treatments have a low chance of providing tangible benefits to some patients, can result in a ‘bad death’, and represent a multi-million dollar cost to the public. Professor Adrian Barnett from the Queensland University of Technology discusses the study he is involved in which looks to increase awareness among hospital clinicians of the extent of non-beneficial treatment at the end-of-life and stimulate action to reduce it.
The internet has provided a mechanism to make palliative care information freely accessible. However, the complexity of palliative care and situational stresses can influence a person’s ability to easily find, navigate and understand online information. It is for this reason that many developers of websites providing palliative care information conduct a usability evaluation during the development process. Amanda Adams discusses her research into evaluation of usability and accessibility during the development stage of an online resource or toolkit and whether this improves access and value.