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Palliative & Hospice Care: Late to End Stage Neurodegenerative Disease

presented by Karen Mueller, PhD, DPT, PT

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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This course is part of our GCS Prep-Program. Learn more about the full prep-program here: MedBridge GCS Prep-Program.

Dr. Mueller will help us get a better understanding of what palliative care is and how patients will benefit from following a program. We'll investigate different precautionary needs for those who suffer from Neurodegenerative diseases, and end with efficent methods that are commonly used by Physical Therapists in Palliative and Hospice care.

Meet Your Instructor

Karen Mueller, PhD, DPT, PT

Karen Mueller, PhD, DPT, PT is a professor of physical therapy at Northern Arizona University, where she has taught end of life concepts, professional communication, and mindfulness concepts since 1987. She is the co-founder and inaugural vice chair of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Oncology Section Hospice and Palliative Care Special Interest Group. Dr.…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. The Scope of Palliative Care

What is palliative care? When might a patient benefit from a palliative care program? This chapter will provide an overview of the scope, purpose and indications for palliative care. Payment systems and models of delivery will also be discussed as well as evidence for the effectiveness of palliative care programs.

2. Exploring the Palliative Care Needs of Patients with Neurodegenerative Disease

Although patients with MS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and Dementia may have different symptoms in the early stages of their disease, the end stage clinical picture is characterized by common symptoms such as pain, fatigue and respiratory distress. Furthermore, the severity of these symptoms have been compared to those of end stage cancer. This chapter will provide an overview of the pathogenesis of ALS, MS, Parkinson’s disease and dementia, including the transition to end stage and the need for palliative care.

3. Living and Dying with Neurodegenerative Disease: Disease Specifics and Case Illustrations

What is it like to live and die with Parkinson’s disease, ALS, dementia and MS? This chapter will include interviews with Dee, a 62 year old nurse who is living with ALS; Cindy, a 57 year old female living with late stage MS; and Nancy and Joanne, two elderly women living with Parkinson’s disease. The case of Helen, an 89 year old with dementia, will also be presented as an illustration of what can happen when patients are not provided with timely access to palliative care programs.

4. Assessing Our Patients for Hospice and Palliative Care

During a patient's functional decline, what indications point to referral to hospice and palliative care? What outcome measures can assist the decision making process? This chapter will explore specific indications for hospice referral for MS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. In addition, specific palliative outcome measures will also be explored. Finally, functional measures that are commonly used by physical therapists will be explored for their use in hospice and palliative care.

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