Resource Bank

A monthly compilation of news you can use from Case Managemen Advisor

Add care for the dying to your continuum toolbox

Guide offers quick fixes for end-of-life care

Too often, dying patients suffer unwarranted pain, run a high risk for unwanted procedures, and endure unreliable care systems, according to RAND's Center to Improve Care of the Dying. Case managers who want to provide more support for patients at the end of life will find useful guidance in the book Improving Care for the End of Life: A Sourcebook for Health Care Managers and Clinicians.

The book chronicles the experiences of 47 health care organizations that participated in a collaborative project on improving end-of-life care co-sponsored by the Center to Improve Care of the Dying and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston. The participating groups aimed for rapid-cycle improvements in four key areas: advance care planning, continuity of care, pain and symptom management, and support for families and loved ones.

"Every group that set out to accomplish something and stayed at it for a few months did accomplish real change: They showed dramatic improvements over what they had done before," says Joanne Lynn, MD, director of the center and sourcebook co-author.

The sourcebook shows readers how to apply changes in care patterns to their own practice settings. Topics include:

• strategies that any clinician or manager of a health care organization can implement immediately to start improving end-of-life care;

• how to use rapid-cycle quality improvement methods to get things done;

• examples of measurement strategies that demonstrate improvement;

• targeted information about Alzheimer's, depression, cancer, and heart and lung disease;

• how to change public policy, understand complex financing structures, and develop management information systems.

Ordering information and excerpts from the sourcebook can be found on-line at The sourcebook costs $35, which includes shipping and handling. 

Company offers low-cost ostomy products

A line of generic equivalent, low-cost ostomy products recently was introduced into the marketplace by St. Petersburg, FL-based EquivaCare. The two-piece ostomy system is called Symphasis.

"Currently, there is no generic ostomy product of this kind on the market, and it's sorely needed for both patients and medical suppliers," says Karen McKenzie, marketing manager for EquivaCare. "These products have been designed and manufactured with one main objective: to make a high-quality product affordable to the patients that use it."

EquivaCare claims the product is priced below what Medicare typically allows for savings of up to 20%. The two-piece system consists of an adhesive wafer and a pouch that attaches to the wafer with the "touch of a finger" by way of a flexible flange, notes McKenzie.

For more information or to order, visit the company's Web site at

Joint Commission offers custom education

Pain management, patient safety available

Joint Commission Resources (JCR) in Oakbrook Terrace, IL, recently announced the addition of two custom education programs focusing on the topics of patient safety and pain management — two areas in the forefront of major national efforts to improve health care quality.

The new programs were developed in response to client requests and are designed to help health care organizations improve services and meet accreditation requirements.

JCR trainers conduct the one- or two-day programs at the client's facility and custom design them to meet each organization's unique educational requirements, without the costs associated with staff travel and time away.

For more information on custom education programs, call JCR at (630) 268-7400 or visit the JCR Web site at

Shepherd Center conference

The First Annual Conference on Care for Catastrophic Injury and Illness: Creating Hope for Patient Progress will be held March 3, 2001, at the Swissotel Atlanta. Sponsored by Shepherd Center in Atlanta and accredited for continuing medical education by the Medical Association of Georgia. Topics include innovations in basic science of neuroprotection and neuroregeneration in brain and spinal cord injury; new theories in epidemiology and prevention of a range of catastrophic injuries, including falls; and social science and policy trends in employer management of catastrophic injury and illness. Call (888) 408-5698 or e-mail

Four new video releases will touch heartstrings

Fanlight Productions in Boston recently released four videos that put a human face on the treatment of disease. To order any of the films detailed here, contact Fanlight Productions, 4196 Washington St., Suite 2, Boston, MA 02131. Telephone: (800) 937-4113. Web site: The new video titles are:

"Cancer Treatment." This 28-minute video follows several patients through chemotherapy or radiation treatments, explaining how they work and their side effects, as well as the emotional ups and downs that all patients experience. Patients with Hodgkin's disease and breast, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancers are shown in treatment. The patients talk about how they have managed to incorporate treatment into their daily lives. The video includes both medical and nontraditional approaches and stresses the vitally important role of friends, family, and support groups.

Order No. DD-304. Cost: $89 to purchase, or rent for $50/day.

"Hepatitis C: A Viral Mystery." This video discusses medical treatments available for hepatitis C through the life stories of patients who have chosen different options, including alternative therapies such as herbal therapies, meditation, and guided imagery. The 30-minute video also features three patients who have chosen treat-ment with interferon or a combination of interferon and ribavarin with varying degrees of success.

Order No. DD-308. Cost: $195, or rent for $50/day.

"Sickle Cell Disease: The Faces of Our Children." This 14-minute video documents the lives of young people who appear healthy yet live with the daily threat of excruciating pain and hospitalization. The program examines the devastating impact of sickle cell disease on these children and their families and caregivers.

Order No. DD-305. Cost: $145, or rent for $50/day.

"Soft Smoke: AIDS in the Rural West." This 28-minute video follows a man named Roy, who works for the Colorado Health Department's Partner Notification Program, as he travels the back roads to give people the unwelcome news that they may have been exposed to AIDS. Roy believes low self-esteem is the key factor behind the risky behaviors that expose so many of his clients to the deadly virus, and he notes that for every person diagnosed with HIV, there are three others who don't yet know they're infected. The film also retells the stories of small town residents, their reactions, and the reactions of their friends when they found out they were HIV-positive. The film carries a strong prevention message.

Order No. DD-301. Cost: $195, or rent for $50/day.