Care for a Chi­nese goose­berry?

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

The term “pal­lia­tive care” may soon join the ranks of “Chi­nese goose­berry” and “slime­head.”

Chi­nese goose­berry is what ki­wifruit was once known as, back in the days when it wasn’t very pop­u­lar. Ac­cord­ing to the Pur­due Univer­sity Cen­ter for New Crops and Plant Prod­ucts, New Zealand grow­ers start­ing call­ing it ki­wifruit around 1962, but the name wasn’t com­mer­cially adopted un­til 1974. And now, ki­wifruit is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of fruit sal­ads ev­ery­where. (Cu­ri­ously, the Chi­nese name for the fruit lit­er­ally trans­lates to “straw­berry peach,” which sounds like a pop­u­lar flavor of cheap wine or the lat­est blend of ex­pen­sive vodka for the dan­ger­ously trendy. … But we di­gress.) It is pos­si­ble to be too pop­u­lar. The fish orig­i­nally called slime­head has seen a haz­ardous spike in pop­u­lar­ity now that peo­ple know it as orange roughy. In fact, some fear it has be­come so in de­mand that it may be over­fished out of ex­is­tence. The same is true of the Patag­o­nian tooth­fish, now known as the Chilean sea bass. We bring this up be­cause, on its On­colog Web page, the Univer­sity of Texas MD An­der­son Can­cer Cen­ter re­ports that the term “pal­lia­tive care” has been pop­u­larly mis­in­ter­preted as ex­clu­sively for pa­tients tran­si­tion­ing into end-oflife com­fort treat­ments. MD An­der­son’s Dr. Ed­uardo Bruera, how­ever, is quoted as say­ing pal­lia­tive care is in­tended for any pa­tient with a se­ri­ous chronic or life-threat­en­ing ill­ness.

Af­ter a 2007 sur­vey found that the term “pal­lia­tive care” de­terred physi­cians from re­fer­ring pa­tients who had early stage can­cer or were re­ceiv­ing ac­tive treat­ment, MD An­der­son’s Pal­lia­tive Care and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Medicine Cen­ter’s name was changed in 2008 to the Sup­port­ive Care Cen­ter.

The name change not only re­port­edly led to a 40% in­crease in re­fer­rals, but also pa­tients now come in for treat­ment a month and a half ear­lier than they did be­fore. “We be­lieve these im­prove­ments are be­cause clin­i­cians feel more com­fort­able re­fer­ring their pa­tients to a place called ‘sup­port­ive care,’ which is not closely as­so­ci­ated with the end of life,” Bruera told On­colog.

The term “pa­tient-cen­tered med­i­cal home” has had its own share of trou­bles. Meant to de­scribe a physi­cian prac­tice with a fo­cus on team­based care co­or­di­na­tion and im­proved com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ac­cess, the la­bel is mis­tak­enly as­so­ci­ated with nurs­ing and fu­neral homes, re­search has shown.

This gives providers a lot to dis­cuss over their lunch of Chi­nese goose­ber­ries, slime­heads and Patag­o­nian tooth­fish.

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