• A new smartphone app aimed at helping GPs provide palliative care to patients has been created with the help of researchers from Adelaide’s Flinders University.
• China will roll out tough new anti-smoking laws in the capital Beijing … making it an offence to light up in restaurants, offices and on public transport.
• India’s brutal weeks-long heatwave has killed more than 2,000 people, authorities said on Saturday, as the government launched a mass education campaign to help people cope with the scorching heat.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd June 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A new smartphone app aimed at helping GPs provide palliative care to patients has been created with the help of researchers from Adelaide’s Flinders University.
“Palli-aged” provides information on end-of-life care, including what to do at different stages of a patient’s decline.
Adelaide GP Daniel Byrne said some doctors may only have a few palliative care cases each year, making the app extremely helpful.
“When we’re treating diabetes, blood pressure and asthma, we’re doing that every day, it’s at the front of our mind, but something like palliative care, it’s really good to have that information at our fingertips,” Dr Byrne said.
“They’ve made it really GP friendly, because it’s all the type of medications we can prescribe in the community.
“A lot of palliative care medications are hospital-only drugs, so there’s no point having an app that tells you to use this drug, and you find out, oh I can’t prescribe it.”
Associate Professor Jennifer Tieman from Flinders University said the app brought together information from various resources, to ensure GPs had it all at their fingertips.
“So it was translating what’s a lot of knowledge that’s already been put together into something that’s quite usable and very user friendly for GPs to be able to look at immediately and say ‘how do I know how my patient’s travelling, what do we to do next?'” she said.
“And at the point where they’re actually dying, how do we take care of symptoms and provide care for them in the home or in the residential aged care setting?”
When GPs are assessing older patients, the app poses the question “how long do you think the person has left to live?”
If the prognosis is longer than six to 12 months, it encourages advance care planning, such as what the patients wishes are and appointing a decision maker.
If the prognosis is less than six months, the app advises a case conference, which brings together the patient, family and health professionals to review treatment plans.
For a patient in their final days, the app provides information on terminal care, including establishing where they will end their life.
Palliative Care SA chief executive Tracey Watters said the app would give GPs the confidence to treat palliative care patients.
“A lot of GPs probably don’t have quite the confidence, but with this app I’m sure that will grow, and for people who want to care for a dying relative at home, that will only be very helpful,” Ms Watters said.
Dr Tieman said with an ageing population, the demand for GPs in palliative care would also grow.
The app has been downloaded more than 1,000 times since its release three weeks ago.
China will roll out tough new anti-smoking laws in the capital Beijing … making it an offence to light up in restaurants, offices and on public transport.
Health activists have spent years pushing for stronger restrictions and hope the ban will be extended nationwide.
Under the rules, anyone in China’s capital who violates the bans, which include smoking near schools and hospitals, must pay about $40. The current fine, seldom enforced, is just $2.
Anyone who breaks the law three times will be named and shamed on a government website.
Businesses will face much larger fines for failing to stamp out smoking on their premises.
“Restaurant staff have a duty to try to dissuade people from smoking,” Mao Qunan, of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said.
“If they don’t listen to persuasion, then law enforcement authorities will file a case against them.”
The government will also make it illegal to sell smokes in shops located within 100 metres of primary schools and kindergartens, according to state media.
Smoking is a major health crisis in China, where more than 300 million people smoke.
More than half of Chinese smokers can buy cigarettes at less than $1 a pack.
India’s brutal weeks-long heatwave has killed more than 2,000 people, authorities said on Saturday, as the government launched a mass education campaign to help people cope with the scorching heat.
Hundreds of mainly poor people die at the height of summer every year in India.
However, this year’s toll is the second highest in India’s history and fifth most in recorded history globally, according to EM-DAT, an international disaster database.
The southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana — which have so far borne the brunt of the heatwave — accounted for 1,979 deaths.
A further 17 people were killed in the eastern state of Orissa, while nine people were reported dead elsewhere in the country, taking the death toll to 2,005.
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