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Compassion Fatigue When Caring for Dying Patients

by Jennifer Forik, MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC When I am asked what I do for a living, I enthusiastically and proudly say, “I’m a palliative care nurse practitioner!” Unfortunately, I usually do not receive the same upbeat response. I usually am told, “Oh wow, that’s a tough job” or, “Oh, so you care for people at the end of life?” Yes! Isn’t that amazing?   Palliative care is a type of medical care that helps with symptom management from chronic illnesses, and guides discussions around goals of care with patients. This type of decision-making allows the patients to decide on how they would like to proceed with their medical treatment. Sometimes patients decide that hospice care is the best option for them (Hospice care focuses on the comfort of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, while to their emotional and spiritual needs).  So, how hard is…

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How to Talk to a Suicide Loss Survivor

Talking to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide is challenging to say the least. It presents challenges beyond the discomfort we commonly feel in the presence of grief. Despite our hearts being in the right place, the eagerness to comfort someone may mistakenly cause us to say something hurtful. The fear of compounding the loss survivor’s pain by saying the wrong thing may cause us to avoid those who are grieving. Let them know about the Suicide Loss Support Groups that happen throughout the month in our area. And below are some tips from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on navigating conversations with suicide loss survivors in a kind, thoughtful, and responsible way: “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.” Suicide loss is complicated, devastating, dumbfounding. There are no easy answers and no easy fixes. Be a patient, nonjudgmental listener. Be a…

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Overdose Rescue: Learn how to get and use naloxone (Narcan®)

Philadelphia is facing the greatest public health crisis in a century. Every neighborhood in the city is being hit hard by an epidemic of opioid use and overdose. Across all racial and ethnic groups, the number of deaths from drug overdose is higher than the number of deaths from homicide. Of the 1,217 overdoses in 2017, 1,074 involved opioids.Opioids are a class of drugs that relieve pain. When appropriately prescribed by a doctor, opioids help the brain block the feeling of pain. Misusing opioids can cause addiction, overdose, and sometimes death.Philadelphia Fights BackThe City is working to save lives, improve access to help, and reverse the negative effects opioids have had on our communities. To support overdose prevention, the City is distributing the lifesaving drug naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote. DBHIDS is offering monthly lifesaving Naloxone (Narcan) Overdose Prevention & Rescue Training. View Calendar What is naloxone?Naloxone is a prescription…

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Game-bling

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently listed “gaming disorder” as an official addictive behavior disorder. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) lists gaming disorder as a “pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences” (WHO, 2018).  In order for gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of “sufficient severity” resulting in significant impairment in an individuals’ personal, familial, social, educational, occupational or other significant areas of functioning. The behavior pattern must be evident for at least 12 months. Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is:  to the exclusion of other…

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