Northern California Doctors Attend End-of-Life Care Seminar in Sacramento
More than 50 Northern California doctors attended a two-day seminar on end-of-life care last weekend in Sacramento, the Sacramento Bee reports. The seminar, Education for Physicians on End-of-Life Care, sponsored by Sacramento Health Care Decisions, the Sierra Health Foundation and others, addressed management of pain and symptoms of terminal illnesses, practical and spiritual concerns that patients and their families may have and when to halt life-sustaining measures. End-of-life care experts developed the seminar training with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to Dr. Elizabeth Menkin, a geriatrician and hospice doctor with Kaiser Permanente who served as one of the teachers, doctors do not receive "a lot" of end-of-life care training in medical school. She said that although Americans are living longer, the U.S. health care system "still focuses on an acute care model." In addition, she said that families of terminally ill patients do not receive "needed education, resources, medications and telephone support." Menkin supports a "redesign" of the health care system, additional training for doctors and a "better-informed public who will demand" improved end-of-life care (Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 9/15).