Direct Relief and Pfizer donate 1 million doses of naloxone to health providers

From Modern Healthcare:

A leading humanitarian organization known for providing medical aid to impoverished countries and disaster zones is now setting its sights on helping U.S. healthcare providers combat the opioid epidemic.

California-based charitable medicine program Direct Relief has partnered with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to donate up to 1 million doses of the drug overdose-reversal drug naloxone to free health clinics, community health centers, public health departments and other not-for-profit providers nationwide.

Implementing Telemedicine in a Skilled Nursing Facility To Reduce Emergency Department Visits

From the Arizona Telemedicine Program:

Telemedicine offers great promise as a strategy to reduce the skilled nursing/emergency department loop.  Telemedicine can be powered by a specialized telemedicine cart or a computer with a camera that facilities a live video connection between a patient and nursing assistant at the facility and the off-site resource (physician or nurse).  When deployed and used, it reduced unnecessary patient transportation to the emergency department for non-emergent situations.

For most facilities, the barriers to telemedicine adoption are the perceived expense of the equipment or software.  In fact, an iPad at the bedside loaded with Zoom or VSee could suffice. Important factors for success tend to be operational ones.  The facility must have physicians or nurses available for consultations.  Documentation of the visit must occur.  One strategy is to have the after-hours coverage physician or nurse staff the telemedicine platform and chart in the existing Electronic Medical Record.  Telemedicine allows the physician to assess the situation from his or her home and drive to the facility only if “hands on” treatment is required.  In short, telemedicine can be an inexpensive and effective tool to reduce transportations and increase patient access to physicians.

Influx Of Elderly Patients Forces ER To Practice Comfort Care

From Kaiser Health News:

As the nation’s elderly population swells, more older Americans are visiting the emergency room, which can be an overcrowded, disorienting and even traumatic place. Adults 65 and older made 20.8 million emergency room visits in 2013, up from 16.2 million in 2000, according to the most recent hospital survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey found 1 in 6 visits to the ER were made by an older patient, a proportion that’s expected to rise as baby boomers age.

Half of adults in this age group visit the ER in their last month of life, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs. Of those, half die in the hospital, the study found, even though most people say they’d prefer to die at home.

The influx is prompting more clinicians to rethink what happens in the fast-paced emergency room, where the default is to do everything possible to extend life. Hospitals across the country, including in Ohio, Texas, Virginia and New Jersey, are bringing palliative care, which focuses on improving quality of life for patients with advanced illness, into the emergency department.

Does telling patients of possible side effects make them more likely?

From Reuters:

Patients who are told their medication can have certain side effects may report these symptoms more often than patients who aren’t aware their treatment carries these risks, a study of popular cholesterol pills suggests.

Researchers focused on what they dubbed the “nocebo” effect, or the potential for people to complain of treatment-related side effects when they think they’re taking a specific drug but are actually given a placebo, or dummy pill, without any active ingredients.