Safer medicines administration – cytotoxic agents

Cytotoxic drugs (sometimes known as antineoplastic) describe a group of medicines that contain chemicals which are toxic to cells, preventing their replication or growth. As well as being used as chemo-therapeutic agents to treat cancer, they are also used to treat long-term conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis…

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Two important studies for palliative care

We observe that people have a reduced oral intake at the end of life due to their symptoms or general weakness and level of consciousness. There is inconclusive evidence that artificial hydration is beneficial, with arguments against being the chance of it increasing the likelihood of oedema, ascites and death rattle. Arguments for are that it may alleviate feelings of thirst and reduce the risk of agitation.

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Pre-order next winter’s (2020/2021) flu vaccine now

The annual influenza vaccination programme has become an important strategy for protecting public health by providing vulnerable people with immunisation against the virus strains likely to be the most prevalent over the coming year. The best time to have the vaccination is each autumn, from the beginning of October, as this will provide protection throughout winter – the riskiest time…

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Drug choices for the management of secretions in malignant bowel obstruction

Presentations at national conferences and courses can have a lasting influence on symptom management. Following a talk at one of the ‘Oxford’ courses(1), an increasing number of prescribers are now using ranitidine to reduce the secretions which make inoperable bowel obstruction such a challenging condition. Treatment in the past would often involve insertion of a nasogastric tube…

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A visit to the Bel Hospice in Belgrade

In September 2019, the charity Hospices of Hope invited interested supporters on an insight visit to Serbia to see the new hospice building and meet the staff and patients. I have a family connection with Belgrade as my father was a Serbian pharmacist and our family supports the charity with the intention of trying to do something specific to help this particular site. There hasn’t been such an opportunity so far but this visit seemed a great chance to find out more in person…

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Ashtons Live View homepage updated – coming soon: two new palliative care resource sections

Ashtons Live View is a unique online recording and communication tool that has transformed medicines management in our client hospices and has dramatically reduced medication errors. In the first two years of use, our monitoring has shown Live View has brought about a 40% fall in the number of medication errors among our client hospices…

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