Roving End-of-Life Care for the Homeless

End of Life Homeless CareShouldn’t homeless men and women be able to die in comfort and dignity, just like anyone else? That’s been the aim of a pilot project in Washington State by the Seattle/King County Health Care for Homeless Network and Harborview Medical Center, Kaiser Health News reports. The effort sends mobile teams of care providers to destitute individuals out in the community, providing them with medical and, when the time comes, palliative care. It’s funded through this year with a $170,000 federal grant, and is geared toward eliminating costly, unnecessary end-of-life care, according to KHN. Since its start in 2014, the program has already treated more than 100 individuals, reducing hospitals stays by 25 percent and ED visits by half. “There are times when our medical system focuses on longevity. We’re focusing on comfort and independence,” Daniel Lam, M.D., director of inpatient and outpatient palliative care services at Harborview, tells the website.

Paging Dr. Dewey

Library ClinicsLibrarians, already saddled with the work of understanding the Dewey Decimal System for classifying books, are now increasingly acting as health care advisers, writes Governing. “People tend to be more comfortable asking their librarians something rather than their doctor where they might feel rushed or intimidated,” said Renee Pokorny, branch supervisor at the Philadelphia Free Library, in the article. With demand for health information soaring at public libraries, some population health-minded officials are setting up clinics or housing caregivers directly in the library, including a branch of the Philadelphia Free Library and Pima Co., Ariz.’s library system. Perhaps physicians’ offices should add books to their offerings of often outdated copies of Sports Illustrated, Better Homes & Gardens and Kiplingers.

CVS Health to Sell Cheaper EpiPen Alternative

CVS AdrenaclickThe EpiPen, manufactured by drug manufacturer Mylan, made headlines last year for hiking prices on the medicine by as much as 461 percent, and this week CVS Health has announced they will sell a generic version of an EpiPen competitor at a lower list price, according to USA Today. CVS Health will sell a two-pack of the generic Impax Laboratories’ Adrenaclick treatment for $109.99, compared to the initial $300 list price of Mylan’s new generic EpiPen, the report states. The drug-store chain isn’t the first to promise a low-cost alternative. Last year, Kaleo announced they would produce a lower priced alternative called Auvi-Q available sometime in 2017. For more on the EpiPen saga, read our previous coverage “3 Lessons Health Care Leaders Can Learn from the EpiPen Story.

Who Really Has Cat Scratch Fever?

Cat Scratch DiseaseTed Nugent is probably the most famous person to have “caught” cat scratch fever as his song with the same name suggests, “Well, the first time that I got it I was just ten years old.” But, according to a report by North Carolina Health News North Carolina cat owners who have children between five and nine years old are the groups most at-risk to Cat Scratch Disease — Nugent must have just been an anomaly.  The findings were published in a paper, and you can’t make this type of thing up, “Cat Scratch Disease in the United States: Sinking Our Claws into the Data.” According to the paper, the disease, also known as Bartonella, is spread through cat fleas, then to humans through scratches and bites. And even though Nugent famously sang, “It’s nothin’ dangerous/I feel no pain,” symptoms can lead to swelling of the lymph nodes and even bone, brain or heart infections. Has anyone checked on Nugent lately?

Is Melatonin Safe?

Melatonin is a popular sleep aid in part because it is billed as a natural health supplement, but it could have negative health implications, especially for children, a recent New York Times blog suggests. While melatonin seems safe because it is a hormone our bodies produce anyway, there is little available research about the health effects of taking the synthetic version regularly. While using it in small, temporary doses is usually considered OK, it’s been associated with side effects such as dizziness and grogginess, and it can complicate the results of diabetes and blood thinning medications. In the blog, Judith Owens, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital, suggests using the supplement under the direction of a health care professional and buying it from a trustworthy source.