Newsbrief: Study Says Terminal Patients Don't Get Adequate Pain Treatment 12/6/02

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A comprehensive study of end-of-life care released last month and comparing all 50 states and the District of Columbia suggests that the US does only a mediocre job of caring for seriously ill and dying patients. The report issued by Last Acts, a 1,000 organization-strong campaign dedicated to improving end-of-life care, graded the states on eight key elements of end-of-life care and found that most earned Cs, Ds, and even failing grades on most indicators.

The report, "Means to a Better End: A Report on Dying in America Today," found, among other things, that almost half of the 1.6 million people living in nursing homes suffer persistent pain that is unnoticed and inadequately treated. Also, policies in 35 states regarding the use of controlled substances for pain relief "create formidable barriers to good pain management," the authors noted. Furthermore, palliative care -- designed to ease and comfort dying patients -- training is lagging behind the needs of patients and many hospitals lack pain management programs, the report found.

"Dying patients and their families today suffer more than they should," said Judith R. Peres, deputy director of Last Acts and the leader of the report's research team, in a press release. "We still have a long way to go to improve health care and policy for this segment of the American population."

Among the report's recommendations, Last Acts calls for Medicare reform to meet the needs of seriously ill and dying people. It also chided state governments, saying: "In many states, people will suffer needless pain until state lawmakers change the rules that affect doctors' ability to prescribe needed medications."

Visit http://www.lastacts.org/betterend/media/ to view the study, news release, and much, much more online. An interactive special report on Means to a Better End, including research findings, is available at http://www.rwjf.org/special/betterend/ on the web site of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research.

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Issue #266, 12/6/02 DRCNet Needs Your Help! | Editorial: Crimes and Minor Accidents | MPP Files Complaints Charging Drug Czar Violated Election Laws | Wisconsin Rave Rebellion: Racine in the Hot Seat as Hundreds Demand Trial on Bogus Bust at Electronic Music Benefit Concert | Bye, Bye, Asa: DEA Chief to Leave for Homeland Security Gig, Will Be Replaced by Career Narcocrat | The Lone Horseman: Texas Ex-Cop Hits the Trail for Marijuana Legalization | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: Radical Party Anti-Prohibitionist Wins European of the Year in European Voice Magazine Online Vote | Newsbrief: Study Says Terminal Patients Don't Get Adequate Pain Treatment | Newsbrief: New Jersey Weedman Still Jailed for Thought Crime | Newsbrief: Study Says Few Medical Marijuana Users, Little Impact on Law Enforcement -- Feds, Some Cops Disagree | Newsbrief: Study Says "Gateway Theory" is Bunk | Newsbrief: US Accuses North Korea of Drug Trafficking | Newsbrief: Illinois Prosecutors Use Ecstasy Law to Charge Partiers With Murder | Newsbrief: Canadian House Panel Will Call for Cannabis Decriminalization, Newspaper Says | Newsbrief: Swiss Marijuana Potency Becomes an Issue | Newsbrief: Pennsylvania Set to Increase Ecstasy Dealing Penalties | Anniversary of Alcohol Prohibition | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar
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