Dr Aoife Gleeson, MD MSc, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, explains the background to her article that is published in the November/December issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care.
I first became concerned about the impact of Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in palliative care a number of years back because of a meeting I had with a bereaved family of one of my deceased patients, their mother. They had known she was dying from her metastatic cancer diagnosis and spoke about the great care she had received in the hospice where I worked. However, they were struggling with the fact that their mother had also had MRSA and this was the reason for the meeting.
I was aware that MRSA, a multi-drug resistant bacterium, had been the focus of much media attention for decades, much of which was negative. Despite this, I was surprised by the level of anger, stress and concern that MRSA had caused this bereaved family. After this experience, I became increasingly aware of the fear and worry that MRSA caused to both my patients and their family members. Unfortunately, I could not adequately reassure them, as I did not know if MRSA had a significant impact in patients with advanced life-limiting illnesses such as cancer. For this reason I developed a research project to explore the impact of MRSA in specialist palliative care.
My article focuses on what is known about MRSA in palliative care and offers some new insights from the results of my research project. Reassuringly, my research found that MRSA does not significantly affect survival and that early, simple communication of the MRSA diagnosis to patients and their family members is key to good management.
To read a copy of the full article…
This post relates to a longer article, ‘Impact and management of MRSA in palliative care’, by Aoife Gleeson, Philip Larkin and Niamh O’Sullivan, published in the European Journal of Palliative Care 2014 (21.6). If you have a web-based subscription to the journal you can download this issue, plus all articles in the journal archive. You can also browse the archive and download articles by taking a 10-minute or 30-minute subscription. Members of the EAPC receive discounted subscription rates to the journal – click here to subscribe online.
EJPC Palliative Care Policy Development Award 2015
If you know someone who has made a major contribution to palliative care policy development, why not nominate them for the European Journal of Palliative Care Award 2015? Click here to read more and/or submit your nomination online.