Thursday, October 31, 2013

Better Coordinated Care Needed for Patients Suffering from Shortness of Breath Due to Advanced Illness

An American Thoracic Society panel of experts, including INQRI grantee Richard Mularski, MD, is calling for better care for thousands of Americans who suffer severe shortness of breath as a result of advanced lung and heart disease. In the current issue of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, the panel recommends that patients work with palliative care specialists and interdisciplinary care teams to develop individualized actions plans that can prevent these episodes from turning into emergencies, Medical Xpress reports.

"By the time paramedics arrive, the patients and their caregivers are usually panicked," Mularski told Medical Xpress. "…For patients who don't want breathing tubes or other life-sustaining measures, there are alternative relaxation and breathing techniques and medications that can ease symptoms, but these alternatives only work if they are planned for and practiced before the patient experiences shortness of breath."

The interdisciplinary panel is made up of 27 clinicians, researchers and administrators specializing in pulmonary medicine, critical care, geriatrics, emergency medicine, respiratory care, nursing, medicine and social work.

Mularski’s INQRI research, conducted with Lissi Hansen, PhD, RN,  examined nursing's specific contributions to quality palliative care provided to patients and their families in the ICU.

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