Patients who said they felt prepared for discharge from the hospital also tend to be more satisfied with the care they received, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Among the 55% of patients who felt "very good" about discharge, 87% were satisfied with their overall hospital experience and were more likely to be satisfied with their interactions with medical staff. Researchers suggest incorporating patient readiness for discharge into quality metrics.
Researchers looked at 40 children living in Oakland and Salinas in California and found those who ate an organic diet for seven days had an almost 50% decline in levels of two of the most frequently detected pesticides and an almost 25% decline in those of a common herbicide, compared with being on a conventional diet. The findings were published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the American Society of Clinical Oncology released palliative and hospice care guidelines for oncologists who treat patients with advanced malignancies or a high burden of symptoms. The guidelines, released at the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium, are divided into nine domains. The greatest number of palliative care services are included in the end-of-life care, communication and shared decision-making and care planning domains. Other domains include symptom assessment and management and psychosocial assessment and management.
This week, 90 schools in Riverside, Calif., and 78 in Minnesota were among the schools across the US that participated in the International Walk to School Day, a wellness initiative that encourages children to walk or ride their bicycle to school. The Riverside County Department of Public Health plans to do "walk audits" of dozens of schools to see if there are safety or traffic issues that deter children from walking or riding their bikes to school.
Clinical social workers who provide mental health services to Medicare recipients see higher reimbursement rates under bills introduced in the House and Senate. The rate would increase from 75 percent of the rate for psychiatrists and psychologists to 85 percent. It would also count clinical social workers as qualified service providers for Medicare patients in skilled nursing facilities and it would allow reimbursement for Health and Behavior Assessment and Intervention services that might not be directly related to mental health treatment. NASW has been pushing for these changes to increase Medicare recipients' access to clinical social workers.
Less than 5% of zoo elephant deaths are caused by cancer, while 11% to 25% percent of humans succumb to cancer, but elephants have extra copies of the p53 gene, which plays a role in stopping proliferation of faulty DNA and might function differently in elephants than in humans. Researchers are working to unravel Peto's paradox -- a principle that acknowledges that larger, longer-lived animals should experience higher rates of cancer than small, short-lived species -- as well as questions about why some dog breeds are more susceptible to cancers than others. The answers could inform treatment of cancer across species.
Healthy, well-adjusted, content cats retained their content dispositions after receiving positive interaction with the same person four times a day, but cats whose interaction consisted of a researcher standing in front of their cages for the same amount of time ended the study unhappy. Moreover, the cats in the latter group were more likely to develop upper respiratory disorders, researchers reported in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine. The researchers argued that positive interaction with humans stimulates the production of protective antibodies in cats.
An HHS Office of Inspector General report is reminding health care professionals and hospitals that data-blocking could lead to violations of federal anti-kickback laws. Specifically, the agency warned against providing EHRs with restricted or limited interoperability to health care professionals who are sources of referrals. "OIG remains committed to investigating potentially abusive arrangements that purport to, but do not actually, meet the conditions of the EHR safe harbor. OIG continues to encourage the public to report instances when a donor (or someone on their behalf) acts to limit the interoperability of donated items or services," the OIG said.
Researchers found that patients with psoriasis may have increased risk of artery inflammation, heart disease and stroke. The study, published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, shows that patients with severe psoriasis have 41% higher levels of blood vessel inflammation than people without psoriasis. Researchers are now studying whether psoriasis treatments affect blood vessel inflammation.
A study of 590 patients with advanced cancer who had received at least one round of palliative chemotherapy found about 71% wanted their oncologist to tell them their life expectancy, but just 17.6% recalled having that discussion. The report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said patients who remembered having a life expectancy discussion with their oncologist had more realistic self-estimates of their life expectancy.
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