Doctors should consider whether older patients can hear them

From Reuters:

Elderly people with hearing loss may have difficulty understanding speech in noisy healthcare settings – and the situation isn’t helped when doctors speak fast and use medical jargon, experts say.

But research on communication between doctors and patients has largely excluded older people with hearing problems. Not taking hearing loss into account means those earlier studies overlooked a common, important and fixable problem in communication, researchers write in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Hospital association offers recommendations to limit opioid abuse

From the News & Record:

Emergency departments are being recommended to prioritize non-opioid therapies for treating pain and provide counseling to patients as part of guidelines released Friday by the N.C. Hospital Association.

The guidelines, endorsed by the N.C. College of Emergency Physicians, are designed to “balance care providers’ duty to treat pain and decrease the risk of opioid dependence, addiction and diversion in the emergency medicine population.”

Narcan parties becoming disturbing trend, police say

From WPXI:

Channel 11 News has learned that “Narcan parties” are becoming a trend in Pennsylvania.

According to investigators, addicts and dealers are taking advantage of the heroin-reversal drug by having parties where they sell heroin and Narcan as a package deal.

“You can party and use the opioids to whatever degree you want, and with the intent that you can be saved by the use of the Narcan,” Chief Jack Soberick of the Landsford, Pennsylania police said.


Hospitals now expected to try to identify patients’ caregivers

From the Post-Gazette:

Hospital patients in Pennsylvania should now be prepared for a nurse to ask one more question beyond how they’re feeling, what medications they’re taking and other traditional inquiries.

Patients visited initially in their rooms are being asked for the name and phone number of a person they would rely on as an informal caregiver after being discharged from the hospital.

Under a new state law that took effect Thursday, hospitals are to record the names of caregivers, contact them prior to a patient’s discharge and provide them the same information or training given to patients for handling any medical needs expected after getting home.

Drugged driving surpasses drunken driving among drivers killed in crashes

From CNN:

Driving under the influence of drugs was deadlier in 2015 than driving while drunk, a new report found. Still, some safety experts caution that drunken driving remains a bigger problem and say that drugged driving needs more research.

Positive drug tests were more common than the presence of alcohol among the fatally injured drivers who were tested in 2015, according to the report (PDF)released Wednesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a nonprofit funded by alcohol distillers.

Rate of opioid abuse, overdoses climbs among middle aged, elderly

From Becker’s:

According to data from the CDC cited by WSJ, Americans between ages 45 and 64 accounted for almost half — 44 percent — of deaths attributed to overdoses in 2013 and 2014, and the proportion of adults age 50 and older seeking opioid addiction treatment has increased significantly over recent decades.

Although many drug overdose deaths are attributed to illicit street drugs, prescription opioids pose a growing problem, the CDC reported in December.

Rural Doctors’ Training May Be In Jeopardy

From Kaiser Health News:

Under the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government dispenses grants to community health centers to train medical residents. The goal of the program is to address the shortage of primary care physicians in rural and poor urban areas.

But under current law, the federal government will stop funding the program, which serves nearly 750 primary care residents in 27 states and Washington, D.C., at the end of September. Without congressional action, it might be shut down.