GeriPal - A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Podcast

By Alex Smith and Eric Widera

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We invite the brightest minds in geriatrics, hospice, and palliative care to talk about the topics that you care most about, ranging from recently published research in the field to controversies that keep us up at night. You'll laugh, learn and maybe sing along. Hosted by Eric Widera and Alex Smith.

Episode Date
Opening the Black Box of LTACHs: Podcast with Anil Makam
What happens in Long Term Acute Care Hospitals, or LTACHs (pronounced L-tacs)? I've never been in one. I've sent patients to them - usually patients with long ICU stays, chronically critically ill, with a gastric feeding tube and a trach for ventilator support. For those patients, the goals (usually as articulated by the family) are based on a hope for recovery of function and a return home. And yet we learn some surprising things from Anil Makam, Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSF. In his JAGS study of about 14,000 patients admitted to LTACHs, the average patient spent two thirds of his or her remaining life in an institutional settings (including hospitals, LTACs and skilled nursing facilities). One third died in an LTACH, never returning home. So you would think with this population of older people with serious illness and a shorter prognosis than many cancers, we would have robust geriatrics and palliative care in LTACHs? Right? Wrong. 3% were seen by a geriatrician during their LTACH stay, and 1% by a palliative care clinician. Ouch. Plenty of room for more research and improvement. Read or listen for more! See also this nice write up by Paula Span in the New York Times, and this prior study on geographic variation in LTACH also by Anil. Please also note that our 100th podcast approaches! Please call 929-GERI-PAL to let us know what is working and what can be better about GeriPal. You might make it on the air! by: Alex Smith @AlexSmithMD
Oct 10, 2019
Geroscience and it's Impact on the Human Healthspan: A podcast with John Newman
Ok, I'll admit it. When I hear the phrase "the biology of aging" I'm mentally preparing myself to only understand about 5% of what the presenter is going to talk about (that's on a good day). While I have words like telomeres, sirtuins, or senolytics memorized for the boards, I've never been able to see how this applies to my clinical practice as it always feels so theoretical. Well, today that changed for me thanks to our podcast interview with John Newman, a "geroscientist" and geriatrician here at UCSF and at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. In this podcast, John breaks down what geroscience is and how it impacts how we think about many age-related conditions and diseases. For example, rather than thinking about multimorbidity as the random collection of multiple different clinical problems, we can see it as an expression of the fundamental mechanisms of aging. This means, that rather than treating individuals diseases, targeting aging pathways may be a better way to prevent or ameliorate multimorbidity. We talk with John about this, and current trials underway to test this hypothesis, along with so much more! If you're interested in taking a deeper dive in the subject, take a look at these papers that John co-authored: - From discoveries in ageing research to therapeutics for healthy ageing. Nature 2019 - Creating the Next Generation of Translational Geroscientists. JAGS 2019 by: Eric Widera (@ewidera) Note: To view the YouTube version, links to the research papers, and/or the transcript for this episode, please visit our GeriPal website at:
Oct 03, 2019
Becoming an Advocate for Older Adults: A Podcast with Joanne Lynn
Joanne Lynn, a geriatrician and palliative care physician who leads Altarum’s work on eldercare, wrote a recent JAGS editorial titled The “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Geriatrics Professionals Speaking up for Older Adult Care in the United States” which is very much a call to action for those who care for older adults. We talk with Joanne about this article and some meaningful things clinicians in both geriatrics and palliative care can do to be advocates for a growing population of older adults. One way I would like to plug to better advocate for our patients is through our national societies. To learn more what both AAHPM and AGS are doing to improve care for older adults and those with serious illness, and to learn how you can help lead change, check out the following links: - AAHPM’s advocacy page - - AGS’s Health in Aging Advocacy Center - So check out the podcast and pick one thing that you can do to better advocate for older adults or those living with serious illness. Eric (@ewidera)
Sep 26, 2019
Hiding Behind High Value Care: A Podcast with Vinny Arora and Chris Moriates
You're the attending physician on a teaching service. Your resident says we shouldn't order a CT because CT's are over-used for this condition, and represent overuse, waste, and low-value care. In this case, however, you suspect that's not the resident's real reason. The real reason behind the resident's decision is that they are serial minimizers - residents who make little of potentially important findings. You feel they might be hiding their minimizing behind the sexy, trendy notion of providing "high value care." Does this sound familiar to you? It did to me. I've been in the awkward situation of being the consulting palliative care physician saying to the primary team, I know they have cancer and that's the most likely explanation for this abdominal pain. I also worry that this pain is out of proportion and different from other pain I've seen, and I think it should be evaluated with further testing. Kind of strange to say that as the palliative care doctor. Kind of strange as well to hear that perspective exposed by Chris Moriates and Vinny Arora, who spend most of their academic careers fighting against wasteful low-value tests and treatments (they run a non-profit called Costs of Care). To be sure, they note this problem is not as great as overuse of consultants, tests, and treatment. The challenge, as Stephanie Rogers our guest host (and guest fiddle player!) points out, is coming up with the right words to teach "right sizing" care to the patient in front of us. And what are the root causes of minimizing? Blame the house staff would be the easy way out, but Chris and Vinny don't take that road. Read more about their thoughts in this article in the Journal of Hospital Medicine and listen to or read our podcast! -Alex @AlexSmithMD Note: For links to referenced articles as well as a transcript of this episode, please visit our blog page at
Sep 19, 2019
The life of individuals with moderate dementia: A Podcast with Krista Harrison
On this weeks podcast, we talk with Krista Harrison about the life of individuals living with moderate dementia, as well as what we know about their caregivers. Krista is is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF, a social scientist, and something that we learned in this podcast, someone who knows a thing or two about singing opera. Krista recently published a JAGS paper titled "Care Settings and Clinical Characteristics of Older Adults with Moderately Severe Dementia." In this paper, which we discuss in the podcast, she gives us a snapshot of older adults in the United States who have experienced the onset of moderately severe dementia within the past year. We learn that 2/3'rds of these individuals are living in the community. Interestingly, older adults living at home were 2 to 5 times more likely to be members of disadvantaged populations and had more medical needs. In the podcast we discuss some potential reasons why this may be the case, along with what role geriatricians and palliative care doctors can play in the care of these individuals. So take a listen and let us know what you think. Also, take a peek at Joanne Lynn's editorial on Krista's paper, which includes a suggestion to create a default path similar to how obstetrics works. Eric (@ewidera)
Sep 13, 2019
Aid in Dying: A Podcast with Lewis Cohen
In this week's podcast we talk with Lew Cohen, MD, about his new book "A Dignified Ending: Taking Control Over How We Die." Eric and I approached reading this book with trepidation. We feared it would be a polemic defending physician aid in dying. It is not. Dr. Cohen does not hide his beliefs and opinions. He also does not shy away from the complexity of the issue - he interviews leading disability rights activists and challenges leaders of the aid in dying movement. His book is filled with stories of the people and family, doctors and activist who have defined this movement. As Eric says, he takes the controversy meter up to 11 with notions of approving aid in dying and euthanasia for progressive neurological conditions such as dementia (with thoughtful safeguards). We challenge Lew, somewhat forcefully at times. Personally, I disagree with many of his stances (as you will hear/read), but I can respect how thoughtfully he's gone about putting together his study of the issue. As Dr. Cohen notes, no issue seems to activate the strong emotion centers of our brain like aid in dying. In this time of extreme polarization, it's critical that we engage in thoughtful and respectful communication about aid in dying. - Alex Smith, MD
Sep 05, 2019
Improving Advance Care Planning for Latinos with Cancer: A Podcast with Fischer and Fink
In this week's GeriPal podcast we talk with Stacy Fischer, MD and Regina Fink, RN, PhD, both from the University of Colorado, about a lay health navigator intervention to improve advance care planning with Latinos with advanced cancer. The issue of lay health navigators raises several issues that we discuss, including: - What is a lay health navigator? - What do they do? How are they trained? - What do lay health navigators offer that specialized palliative care doesn't? Are they replacing us? - What makes the health navigator intervention particularly appropriate for Latinos and rural individuals? For advance care planning? Eric and I had fun singing in French (yes French, not Spanish, listen to the podcast to learn why). Enjoy! Alex Smith, MD
Aug 06, 2019
Practical Advice for the End of Life: A Podcast with BJ Miller
This week we talk with BJ Miller, hospice and palliative care physician, public speaker, and now author with Shoshana Berger of the book "A Beginner's Guide to the End." As we note on the podcast, BJ is about as close as we get to a celebrity in Hospice and Palliative Care. His TED Talk "What Really Matters at the End of Life" has been viewed more than 9 million times. As we discuss on the Podcast, this has changed BJ's life, and he spends most of his working time engaged in public speaking, being the public "face" of the hospice and palliative care movement. The book he and Berger wrote is filled to the brim with practical advice. I mean, nuts and bolts practical advice. Things like: - How to clean out not only your emotional house but your physical house (turns out there are services for that!) - Posting about your illness on social media (should you post to Facebook) - What is the difference between a funeral home and mortuary - Can I afford to die? How much will it cost? We focus our discussion with BJ on his reasons for writing the book, sexuality and serious illness, and priming people to check the instincts of a medical system that favors aggressive/intensive/invasive care and crappy deaths. And BJ came up with some nice harmonies to "Tonight, You Belong to Me." Enjoy! AlexSmithMD
Aug 01, 2019
Advance Care Planning before Major Surgery: A Podcast with Vicky Tang
This weeks podcast is all about the intersection of geriatrics, palliative care, advanced care planning and surgery with our guest Dr. Vicky Tang. Vicky is an assistant professor and researcher here at UCSF. We talk about her local and national efforts focused on this intersection, including: * Her JAMA Surgery article that showed 3 out of 4 older adults undergoing high risk surgery had no advance care planning (ACP) documentation. * Prehab clinics and how ACP fits into these clinics * The Geriatric Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program whose goal is to set the standards for geriatric surgical care including ACP discussions prior to surgery * How frailty fits in and how to assess it (including this paper from JAGS on the value of the chair raise test) So take a listen and enjoy this informative podcast. You can also check out associated links that can be found in this podcast on our website at:
Jun 21, 2019
The Future of Palliative Care: A Podcast with Diane Meier
There are few names more closely associated with palliative care than Diane Meier. She is an international leader of palliative care, a MacArthur "genius" awardee, and amongst many other leadership roles, the CEO of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). We were lucky enough to snag Diane for our podcast to talk about everything we always wanted to ask her, including: * What keeps her up at night? * Does palliative care need a national strategy and if so why and what would it look like? * The history of CAPC and the leadership centers * Advice that she has for graduating fellows who want to continue to move palliative care forward as they start their new careers * What she imagines palliative care will look like in 10 or 15 years? * What is the biggest threat facing palliative care? We hope you join us for this great podcast!
Jun 14, 2019
Psychedelics: Podcast with Ira Byock
In this week's podcast, we talk with Dr. Ira Byock, a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life. Ira Byock wrote a provocative and compelling paper in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management titled, "Taking Psychedelics Seriously." In this podcast we challenge Ira Byock about the use of psychedelics for patients with serious and life-limiting illness. Guest host Josh Biddle (UCSF Palliative care fellow) asks, "Should clinicians who prescribe psychedelics try them first to understand what their patient's are going through?" The answer is "yes" -- read or listen on for more!
Jun 06, 2019
Elderhood: Podcast with Louise Aronson
In this week's podcast we talk with Louise Aronson MD, MFA, Professor of Geriatrics at UCSF about her new book Elderhood, available for purchase now for delivery on the release date June 11th. We are one of the first to interview Louise, as she has interviews scheduled with other lesser media outlets to follow (CBS This Morning and Fresh Air with Terry...somebody). This book is tremendously rich, covering a history of aging/geriatrics, Louise's own journey in medicine and as a geriatrician facing burnout, aging and death of family members, filled with stories of patients, etc. We focus therefore on the main things we think our listeners and readers will be interested in. First - why the word "Elder" and "Elderhood" when JAGS/AGS and others recently decided that the preferred terminology was "older adult"? Second - Robert Butler coined the term ageism in 1969 - where do we see ageism in contemporary writing/thinking? We focus on Louise's delectable takedown of Ezekiel Emanuel's Atlantic Article "Why I hope to Die at 75" Third- Louise's throws down the guantlet to the field of geriatrics. She argues that we have held too narrow a view of ourselves as clinicians for the oldest old and frailest frail. Instead, we should expand our vision of the field to include all older adults - including healthy 60/70 year olds & healthy aging - and become the default clinicians for all people entering life's last stage. Elderhood is a terrific read, and you are listeners/readers will all be inspired by the ideas, moved by the stories (you will identify with them), and challenged to re-imagine our clinical practice. (apologies - I had a cold so sort of struggle through the singing, far different from my usual perfect rendition!) Enjoy!
May 30, 2019
Delirium: A podcast with Sharon Inouye
In this week's GeriPal podcast we discuss the research into delirium with a focus on prevention. We are joined by internationally acclaimed delirium researcher Sharon Inouye, MD, MPH. Dr Inouye is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Aging Brain Center in the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife.
May 02, 2019
Are Palliative Care Providers Better Prognosticators? A Podcast with Bob Gramling
Estimating prognosis is hard and clinicians get very little training on how to do it. Maybe that is one of the reasons that clinicians are more likely to be optimistic and tend to overestimate patient survival by a factor of between 3 and 5. The question is, aren't we better as palliative care clinicians than others in estimating prognosis? This is part of our training and we do it daily. We got to be better, right?
Apr 25, 2019
Multimorbidity - Quantifying It's Impact on Mental and Physical Health: A podcast with Melissa Wei
On today's podcast we talk with one of the national experts on multimorbidity, Melissa Wei. Dr. Wei is an Assistant Professor and physician researcher at the University of Michigan. In addition to destroying the lyrics to Bohemian rhapsody, we talk to Dr. Wei about how we should conceptualize multi morbidity, it's impact on older adults, and about her recent JAGS publication titled "Multimorbidity and Mental Health-Related Quality of Life and Risk of Completed Suicide."
Apr 05, 2019
Language Matters: Podcast with Brian Block and Anna DeForest
In this weeks GeriPal podcast we take a deeper dive into this issue of language and medicine. We are joined by guests Anna DeForest, MD, MFA, a resident in Neurology at Yale, and Brian Block, MD, a pulmonary critical care fellow at UCSF.
Mar 25, 2019
Serious Illness Conversation Guide: Podcast with Rachelle Bernacki and Jo Paladino
Our first live podcast at the annual meeting for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine! We invited Rachelle Bernacki and Jo Paladino to discuss their two papers published today on the the Serious Illness Care Program.
Mar 14, 2019
Does Intensive Blood Pressure Lowering Prevent Dementia? A Podcast with Jeff Williamson
As Eric notes in the introduction, this recent study in JAMA by Jeff Williamson and colleagues led to some very contradictory headlines. Some headlines proclaimed that lowering blood pressure prevents dementia, and others stated the opposite, that lowering blood pressure does not prevent dementia. So what exactly did the study show? Do these results apply to patients we commonly see in Geriatrics? What should we make of the fact that after the trial was stopped early the blood pressures in the lower blood pressure target group rose - does this mean you can't achieve intensive blood pressure lowering "in the real world"?
Mar 08, 2019
Time to Remove Feeding Tubes from POLST: Podcast with Susan Tolle and Elizabeth Eckstrom
In the 1990s, Susan Tolle helped create the POLST. Now she and Elizabeth Eckstrom want to change it. And personally, I think they're right.
Feb 15, 2019
Specialty and Primary Palliative Care Social Work: A Podcast with Bridget Sumser
On this week's podcast we have Bridget Sumser, a clinical palliative care social worker, board member for the Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker certification exam, and now co-author of a new book "Palliative Care: A Guide for Health Social Workers".
Feb 08, 2019
Rehabbed to Death NEJM Perspective: Podcast with Lynn Flint
Three reasons you should listen to this podcast: The issue of patients cycling back and forth between the hospital and skilled nursing facilities near the end of life is common, will ring true to those of you who are clinicians, and has largely been ignored in the literature. It's about a hot off the press article published today in the NEJM. Lynn Flint, Palliative care doc at UCSF in the Division of Geriatrics, first author, and our guest, makes me sing "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by Brittany Spears. This moment is either a new high or a new low for the GeripPal podcast, I can't tell which. You really need to listen to the final seconds when Eric joins in singing, "still believe" in high falsetto.
Jan 30, 2019
Fever, malaise, AMS -- Is it an infection? Podcast with Jeff Caterino
Geriatrics teaches us that older adults with infections often present with non-specific symptoms rather than typical localizing symptoms of infection present in younger adults. Sometimes they present with fever, delirium, malaise, or fatigue. In today's GeriPal/JAGS joint podcast, Jeff Caterino challenges this common teaching by examining the extent to which non-specific symptoms are predictive of infection for older adults presenting to the emergency department. Turns out - they're not so predictive as you might think!
Jan 23, 2019
Effect of Palliative Care in ICUs: Podcast with May Hua
May Hua's study addresses the still unanswered question - do specialized palliative care consults in the ICU do anything? She looked a number of outcomes comparing ICU patients in hospitals with and without palliative care consults. While most outcomes were similar, rates of hospice use were higher in hospitals with palliative care teams.
Jan 08, 2019
#ThisIsOurLane - Firearm Safety and Dementia: A Podcast with Emmy Betz
On todays Podcast we talk with Marian (Emmy) Betz about firearm safety, including how to counsel individuals with dementia about guns. Emmy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and has written some pretty amazing papers on the subject of firearm safety.
Dec 21, 2018
Antipsychotics for ICU delirium don't work: Podcast with Tim Girard
In this week's GeriPal podcast we talk with Tim Girard, Plumonary Critical Care physician-researcher at the University of Pittsburgh about his study NEJM study of Haloperidol vs. Ziprasidone vs. Placebo for ICU delirium in critically ill patients.
Dec 14, 2018
Identifying what patients care about the most: A Podcast with Aanand Naik
On this weeks podcast we are talking with Aanand Naik about his recent JAGS article titled "Development of a Clinically Feasible Process for Identifying Individual Health Priorities".
Dec 07, 2018
Substance Use in Older Adults: A Podcast with Ben Han
We thought it would be an excellent time to talk about substance use in older adults as many of us gather around the Thanksgiving dinner table with our extended families. We invited Ben Han, a geriatrician and Assistant Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics at NYU, to talk about the research that he has done in this area. In particular, we talked with Ben about the recent increase in substance use in older adults with the rising baby boomer generation, including use of alcohol, marijuana, heroin and prescription opiate misuse, and other drugs.
Nov 21, 2018
Priming Patients and Clinicians for Goals of Care Conversations: Podcast with Randy Curtis
In this week's GeriPal podcast we interview Randy Curtis, Professor of Medicine and Pulmonary Critical Care and Director of the Palliative Care Center of Excellence at the University of Washington. We address the question: how do we get more patients with chronic and serious illness to engage in goals of care conversations with their doctors.
Nov 14, 2018
Rethinking Advance Care Planning: A Podcast with Rebecca Sudore
On this weeks podcast, we invited Rebecca Sudore to talk about the results of her PREPARE randomized trial that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine this week. The trial enrolled nearly 1,000 English and Spanish speaking older adults being cared for in a public hospital. The headline results showed that after reviewing the PREPARE For Your Care online program and the easy-to-read advance directive, 98% of older adults reported increased engagement in advance care planning (ACP) and 43% had new ACP documentation in their medical record. Even more good news, PREPARE worked equally well among English and Spanish-speakers and across health literacy levels.
Nov 02, 2018
How do we serve the very sick, very frail, and very old? Podcast with Guy Micco
In this week's GeriPal podcast we talk with Guy Micco, MD, a longtime bioethicists, internist, hospice physician, teacher in the UC Berkeley and UCSF Joint Medical Program, mentor, and friend. Guy and I wrote an article recently for the journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine about the intersection and issues between the fields of geriatrics, palliative care, and bioethics. The main thrust of the paper is that we need a workforce that is trained in the principles of all three fields to take the best care of the very sick, the very frail, and the very old. And for those of you who listen, Guy sings a great rendition of Hello in There, by John Prine: sweet, sad, and sentimental. Chorus: You know that old trees just grow stronger And old rivers grow wilder every day Old people just grow lonesome Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, Hello." Enjoy!
Oct 22, 2018
All the Questions You Had About Opioids But Were Afraid To Ask: A Podcast with Mary Lynn McPherson
All the Questions You Had About Opioids But Were Afraid To Ask: A Podcast with Mary Lynn McPherson by Alex Smith and Eric Widera
Oct 05, 2018
Teaching Communication Skills: Podcast with Wendy Anderson
How do you teach communication in serious illness? Can you? Do you teach it the same way to doctors and nurses in training? What level trainee do you target - medical students, interns, residents? How do we know our teaching is working? We discuss these and other bread and butter communication issues with Dr. Wendy Anderson, a palliative care physician at UCSF, director of the Bay Area Hub for Vitaltalk, and leader of IMPACT-ICU, a project to train ICU nurses in communication. Enjoy! -@AlexSmithMD
Sep 26, 2018
Managing Behavioral Symptoms in Dementia: Podcast with Helen Kales
In this week's podcast we talk with Helen Kales, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan the VA Center for Clinical Management and Research. We've spent a great deal of effort in Geriatrics describing what we shouldn't do to address behavioral symptoms in dementia: physical restraints, antipsychotics, sedating antidepressants. Helen Kales was lecturing around the country about all of these things we shouldn't do a few years back, and people would raise their hands and ask, "Well, what should we do?" She realized she needed to give caregivers tools to help. Dr. Kales went on to develop the DICE approach to managing behavioral and psychiatric symptoms in dementia. Listen or read the full podcast to learn more! You'd be "crazy" not to! (hint: song choice).
Sep 07, 2018
Churning Patients Through the End of Life: A Podcast with Joan Teno
On this weeks podcast, we interview Dr. Joan Teno about her recently published study in JAMA titled "Site of Death, Place of Care, and Health Care Transitions Among US Medicare Beneficiaries, 2000-2015." In 2013, Dr. Teno published a study that showed how good our health care system in the US promotes patient churn. Despite positive signs of more hospice use and decreased deaths in the hospital, Dr. Teno found the from 2000 to 2009 we "churned" patients through more ICU visits, more hospitalizations, and more late transitions that are burdensome to dying persons in their family. Dr. Teno's latest study shows us how we are doing now, extending that work to 2015 and now including Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. So what did she find? Well here is a summary quote from Dr. Teno of the good news: "So, we see a continued decline in people dying in acute care hospital. Increase gross of hospice to nearly half the decedents. And what got me excited about these findings was we saw burdensome patterns of care decreasing. So, people who spent less than three days of hospice decreased from 14.2% in 2009 to 10.8%. People having three or more hospitalizations the last 90 days in life decreased from 11.5 to 7.1. The other thing is transitions between a nursing home and hospital and hospital nursing home nearly had a 50% reduction." And here is the bad news (depending on how you look at it): "So if you just take a look at that, it looks like we're heading in the right direction. One thing that we didn't see a budge in was, the use of ICU in the last 30 days of life. Now, is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? I have to admit I was pretty excited that ICUs wasn't going up." But there is so much more to summarize, including the difference between traditional Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage plans that you should just listen to the whole podcast as Dr. Teno is always someone I learn a ton from. Also, for more on this subject, check out our past podcast with Shi-Yi Wang, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at Yale, on her JAGS paper: "End-of-Life Transition Patterns of Medicare Beneficiaries."
Aug 24, 2018
Number Needed to Tweet: Podcast with Charlie Wray
This week we talk with Charlie Wray, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSF, about why clinicians should use social media in their professional lives. Charlie is a hospitalist and the Associate Social Media Editor for the Journal of Hospital Medicine. His arguments for using social media are germane to all clinicians, however. "Number Needed to Tweet" is the title of his recent grand rounds on this subject.
Aug 03, 2018
Hospice of Humboldt: Podcast with John Nelson
In this week's GeriPal podcast we talked with Dr. John Nelson, who has been Medical Director of Hospice of Humboldt for 17 years.
Jul 26, 2018
Dilemmas in Aid in Dying: Podcast with Bernie Lo
In this week's podcast we talked with Dr. Bernard Lo (Bernie as he is known). Dr. Lo is President of the Greenwall Foundation, a foundation dedicated to improving Bioethics research nationally. Prior to Greenwall, Dr. Lo was Professor of Medicine at UCSF and head of the Bioethics Program. He still maintains a primary care practice at UCSF. We talked with Bernie about several dilemmas in the area of physician aid in dying, with conversation jump started by his recent NEJM perspective on this topic
Jul 13, 2018
Geriatricizing the ICU
For today's GeriPal Podcast we talk with Drs. Nathan Brummel and Lauren Ferrante, both critical care physician-researchers, about integrating geriatrics principles in intensive care units.
Jul 03, 2018
Tramadon't: a podcast with David Juurlink about the dangers of Tramadol
Tramadol. Is it just a misunderstood opioid that is finally seeing its well deserved day in the sun, or is it as our podcast guest David Jurrlink would say, what would happen if "codeine and Prozac had a baby, and that baby grew into a sullen, unpredictable teenager who wore only black and sometimes kicked puppies and set fires."
Jun 26, 2018
Destination Therapy: A Podcast about LVAD decision making with Dan Matlock and Allen Podcast
On today's episode we talk to Larry Allen and Dan Matlock about decision making around destination therapy. No this has nothing to do with your summer vacation plans. Rather, we talk about how individuals with heart failure decide about whether or not to pursue "destination therapy" with an Left Ventricular Device, or LVAD.
Jun 20, 2018
Dementia Specific Advance Directive: Podcast with Barak Gaster
In this weeks GeriPal podcast, we interview Dr. Barak Gaster, Professor of Medicine and General Internist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Gaster felt like there was hole in the advance directives landscape around future planning for people with dementia. People with dementia experience a fairly common set of complications and decisions around feeding, loss of independence, and loss of ability to make complex decisions. His dementia specific advance directive has specific sections for care preferences for persons who progress through stages of dementia, including descriptions of mild, moderate, or severe dementia.
Jun 13, 2018
A Social Worker Led Palliative Care Intervention in Heart Failure: An Interview with Arden O'Donnell
Can routine initiation of goals of care discussions by a palliative care social worker improve prognostic understanding, elicit advanced care preferences, and influence care plans for high-risk patients discharged after a heart failure hospitalization? That is the question we attempt to answer with this weeks podcast guest, Arden E. O’Donnell. kbez8pby
Jun 05, 2018
NEJM Family-Support Intervention Trail, Breakthrough or Bust? Podcast with Doug White
This week's guest is Doug White, Professor of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of a randomized controlled study of a nurse-led intervention to provide emotional support to families of seriously ill patients in the ICU and improve the quality of communication, published in the NEJM.
Jun 01, 2018
How do patients decide whether or not to initiate dialysis? An Interview with Keren Ladin
How do patients come to the decision regarding whether or not to initiate dialysis? Well, that is the question that we talk about with Keren Ladin on this week's podcast. Keren is a social science researcher, bioethicist, and assistant professor in the department of Occupational Therapy at Tufts. What becomes clear when you look at Keren's research is the for many patients, there isn't a decision that is made.
May 21, 2018
Melissa Wachterman Podcast: Dialysis and Hospice
This week, Eric and I talked with Melissa Wachterman, a physician researcher from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Melissa used a national dataset of people receiving hemodialysis linked to Medicare claims for older adults who died.
May 16, 2018
Communicating with Home Health: Podcast with Cynthia Boyd
In this week's GeriPal podcast we talk with Cynthia Boyd, Professor of Medicine and Geriatrician at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine about how physicians communicate with home health agencies. Home health plays a critical role in caring for persons residing at home, and in the best of circumstances extend a seamless network of care from the primary care physician's office to the home. Sadly, reality is not so rosy. The major form of communication between physicians and home health nurses is, well, a form. CMS Form 485 to be specific. In a recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Boyd revealed that most primary clinicians barely read what the home health nurses write on the form, don't find the form useful, and rarely does it change management. It's the 21st century people. Can we move beyond lame forms and communicate with each other, perhaps using some modern technology? Or even 20th century technology, such as phones, if not 21st Century technology, such as video chats? Listen or read more to learn more. Enjoy!
May 02, 2018
Is Suicide Ever Rational? A Podcast with Meera Balasubramaniam
There is a lot of discussion about the right to die. Although most of these have to do with Physician Assisted Death (PAD). What about in those who are not dying but express a dire to end their lives in the absence of a diagnosable mental illness? Do they have the same right? Well, on today's podcast we are going to step into this tricky topic with our guest, Dr. Meera Balasubramaniam, a Geriatric Psychiatrist from NYU. Meera wrote a paper for JAGS titled "Rational Suicide in Elderly Adults: A Clinician's Perspective". We talk with Meera about her article, including how she would define rational suicide, how can we help best explore these thoughts that patients consider rational, and how society and baby boomers are changing the way we think about this. We also dive into some other interesting topics include agism. I really love this quote from Meera, so I'll post it here, but for the full transcript read below or listen to the podcast: Ageism is a very interesting and distinct concept. It's fear of growing old or fear of being in that state. It's so distinct from something like racism or sexism. If a person is racist about a certain other race, it's less likely that they are going to be part of the other race that they are having negative connotations about. Similarly, if you are sexist, it's less likely less likely that you are going to belong to the other gender. When it comes to age, it's quite fascinating that most of us are actually going to get to that stage that we're being ageist about. What it is about growing old and about being down in the future that scares most of us has been sort of the crux of part of my work from a society perspective.
Apr 26, 2018
Integrating Palliative Care In The Emergency Department With David Wang
In this weeks podcast we talked with David Wang about how palliative care can join forces with the emergency department to improve care for the serious ill. This conversation was motivated in part by a recent expert consensus statement on key knowledge and skills standards about hospice and palliative medicine for emergency medicine providers. What should the core training be? How do emergency providers feel about palliative care? How can palliative care services that are typically available bankers hours work with the emergency department, open 24-7?
Apr 17, 2018
Elder Abuse and the Role of Emergency Medical Services (#EMS)
On todays podcast, we will be talking with Brooke Namboodri and we have Tim Platts-Mills from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill about their new article in the Journal of American Geriatric Society (JAGS) on "Elder abuse identification in the prehospital setting, an examination of state EMS protocols." We talk with Brooke and Tim about the state of EMS protocols in the US and how often the mention elder abuse in them (spoiler alert: not very often), how this compares to mentions of child abuse, the role EMS should play in elder abuse identification and management, and the role of potential screening tools for elder abuse.
Apr 02, 2018
After intubation in the ED, 33% die in hospital: GeriPal Podcast with Kei Ouchi
In this weeks GeriPal/JAGS Podcast we talked witk Kei Ouchi, an emergency medicine physician, internist, and researcher at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. We recorded this podcast in the hallways of the annual meeting. We talked about outcomes following intubation in the emergency department. Kei published a paper in JAGS that is notable for several things, but perhaps most of all for the innovative use of color imagery to convey a message. The image in the @AGSJournal tweet above is from Dr. Ouchi's article - this tweet went viral by the way - and notice what it does: (1) convey the main message that outcomes are worse with advancing age, and are not good in general overall; (2) grab your attention and make you want to learn more. Kei is very thoughtful about how these data should be used - not on the spot in the ED, when a patient is gasping for air, and you pull up the color figure on your iphone Twitter app - no, not then. Better to use this information in advance, when things are calm, outside the ED, for people at risk of going to the ED in extremis. This is the first in a series of GeriPal podcasts on the GeriPal - ED interface. ED stands for Emergency Department by the way. Enjoy! -By @AlexSmithMD
Mar 28, 2018
Should Concept of the "The Good Death" Be Buried? A Podcast with VJ Periyakoil
On this week's podcast, we talk with the authors of a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) article titled Should We Bury “The Good Death"? As luck may have it, one of the authors is co-host Alex Smith, and the other is a leader in geriatrics and palliative care, VJ Periyakoil. Alex and VJ's critique of the ‘good death’ was published alongside a paired commentary from Age and Ageing from the British Geriatrics Society.
Mar 13, 2018
Tim Quill on voluntary stopping eating and drinking
For this week's GeriPal podcast we are honored to be joined by Tim Quill, palliative care physician and bioethicist from the University of Rochester, New York. Dr. Quill has pushed our nation to seriously grapple with the issue of physician aid in dying with a remarkably thoughtful and measured approach. We talk with Dr. Quill on this podcast about voluntary stopping eating and drinking, and a paper on this topic he recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine. As noted in the podcast, I am deeply ambivalent about physician aid in dying. I find voluntary stopping eating and drinking (VSED) to be far more acceptable. Some of this has to do with the acceptability of positive and negative acts (positive act - giving a patient a prescription for lethal medication; negative act - not inserting a feeding tube in a patient who refuses to eat and drink). Some of this just has to do with the time course: patients who stop eating and drinking must have the resolve and dedication over time. And they can change their minds. We address many aspects of this issue on the podcast, including: Who is VSED appropriate for? What can patients expect? How does VSED compare to other "options of last resort?" What is the role of palliative care? Should hospice's deem a patient eligible if they would not have a less than six month prognosis if they continued to eat and drink? When should a psychiatrist be involved? What if the suffering is not physician, but social or psychological? Is VSED legal? Should clinicians routinely offer VSED to all patients with serious illness as an option? How do you feel about this topic? Feel free to respond in the comments, or on Twitter!
Feb 27, 2018
Hypoglycemia in Hospice: A Podcast with Laura Petrillo
For this weeks podcast, we talk with Laura Petrillo, lead author of a recent paper published in JAMA IM titled “Hypoglycemia in Hospice Patients With Type 2 Diabetes in a National Sample of Nursing Homes”. Laura is a palliative care physician and researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Laura's finding should serve as a wakeup call for anyone caring for individuals on hospice living in nursing homes. They found that 1 in 9 nursing home patients with type 2 diabetes experienced hypoglycemia. So take a listen an tell us what you think in the comment section on this GeriPal post.
Feb 20, 2018
Palliative care in nursing homes: Podcast with Caroline Stephens
Many in palliative care (including us) have argued that the default care model in nursing homes should be a palliative approach. Revealing indeed, therefore, to talk with nurse researcher Caroline Stephens about her publication in JAGS where she studied palliative care-eligibility and POLST completion for nearly 200 residents of 3 San Francisco area nursing homes, finding: 70% of nursing home residents were palliative care-eligible, but other than 2 patients on hospice, none were receiving consultative palliative care 99% of residents had completed a POLST, but almost no one remembered filling it out Listen to the podcast for more, including answer to questions: What does palliative-care eligible mean? How could they fill out a POLST but not remember it, did they all have dementia? What is Campbell's law, and does it have anything to do with his soup? We're joined on this podcast by Sei Lee, MD, regular guest host and as it happens senior author on the nursing home study, and Lynn Flint, MD, palliative care physician with extensive experience working in nursing home settings. Enjoy!
Feb 07, 2018
Do proton pump inhibitors cause dementia?
Proton pump inhibitors are one of the most widely used medications. As I note in the podcast below, I was in my local drug store the other day, and an entire shelf segment, top to bottom, was filled with medications for "heartburn," and most of them were proton pump inhibitors. And those are just the over the counter variety. So wouldn't it be a public health disaster if proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, increased a persons risk for dementia? Even if the increase in dementia risk is only slight, on a population level, given the vast number of people using PPIs, the consequences would be disastrous. A major study in JAMA showed just such a linkage, raising serious alarm about this issue. So with this urgent question in mind, we talk with two authors about their more recent studies in JAGS suggesting that there is no such linkage. We talked with Shelly Gray, from the School of Pharmacy and the University of Washington, and Felicia Goldstein from Emory University, about their studies, the current evidence as a whole, and what an individual on PPI's should think at this time about his or her risk of dementia. Here is the bottom line, for those who can't wait. In response to Eric asking what advice they would give their 75 year old neighbor who is taking PPI's, Dr. Gray said: I would tell her that the information is conflicting, but some really high quality studies have been done and have not found an association, and if this medication is necessary to manage her condition, that she should continue taking it. However, I will say that we do know that these medications are overused, and so I still believe in the tenet of geriatric medicine that we try to deprescribe when possible, so I would try to reassure her and let her know that it's not a done deal and that the high quality studies do indicate that there doesn't seem to be an association.
Feb 02, 2018
Preparing for the 4th Quarter - An Interview with Lee Lindquist
Today we have Lee Lindquist with us on the GeriPal podcast to talk about planning for the "4th quarter" of life. Dr. Lindquist is a geriatrician and chief of geriatrics at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Lindquist developed a website called to help older adults create strategies for dealing with health crises, such as hospitalization, a serious fall, and dementia. Using the website, older adults can think about what services they may need in the last 10 or 15 years of their lives, what choices they can make now, and how to access these services when needed. Her work was also recently published in a a Journal of Hospital Medicine paper showing that the website helped older adults plan for posthospital discharge needs before a hospitalization occurs. So give it a listen and comment below on what you think should be address in the last quarter of life.
Jan 31, 2018
Advance Care Planning in the Hospital: Are Palliative Care Doctors Doing Enough?
We have a great podcast this week exploring the advance care planning needs for hospitalized adults and what palliative care teams are doing (and not doing) to meet these needs. We've invited Kara Bischoff, a palliative care doctor and Assistant Professor at UCSF in the Department of Hospital Medicine, who published a paper in JAMA Internal Medicine on this very topic. Why was this JAMA IM paper so important for those who work in our field? This was a real world study, looking at over 73,000 consultations from the Palliative Care Quality Network (PCQN). They found palliative care teams consistently identified surrogates for patients, often addressed their preferences regarding life sustaining treatments, including code status, and frequently found a preference regarding life sustaining treatments that was different than what was previously documented before the consult. But rarely completed advance directives (only 3.2% of patients seen by palliative care teams) or Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms (12.3% of patients seen by palliative care teams).
Jan 22, 2018
Wealth Disparities in the US and England: A Podcast with Lena Makaroun and Sei Lee
Our guests this week are Lena Makaroun, MD, a research fellow at the VA Pudget Sound, and Sei Lee, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF and frequent co-host on this podcast. They recently wrote a paper in JAMA Internal Medicine on wealth disparities in the US and England, and implications for mortality and disability. Major take home points: “It’s not that great to be rich, but it really sucks to be poor.” Those in the bottom quintile of wealth had the greatest difference in disability and mortality (ie worse). Differences between those in the highest quintile of wealth and the next highest were relatively minor in comparison. “Rather than saying universal healthcare doesn't help, I would just say it's not enough.” Worse disability and mortality with lower wealth were observed in the US and England, both before and after age 65. Does this mean National Health Service isn’t working? The authors expected to find less difference in England where universal coverage is, well universal, and not just after age 65 in the US (Medicare). The authors give thoughtful responses.
Jan 16, 2018
Prognostication with Christian Sinclair
For this weeks podcast, we talk all about prognostication with Christian Sinclair. Christian is a palliative care physician at University of Kansas Medical Center, past president of AAHPM, recent AAHPM "Visionary" awardee, and Pallimed social media guru. We go over a lot of topics at the heart of prognostication in hospice and palliative care including: - The importance that prognostication plays in daily practice, especially in goals of care discussions - Helpful tools and skills to estimate prognosis - How prognosis changes the way we think about prescribing opioids - How to think about prognosis when it comes to hospice eligibility and why it may be that one of the most important tools used for prognostication in the hospice setting, the hospice eligibility guidelines, were last updated over two decades ago. So we have a ton to talk about and we would love for you to continue this discussion in the comment section of this blog, on Facebook or on twitter.
Dec 11, 2017
Palliative Care, Chronic Pain, and the Opioid Epidemic: GeriPal Podcast with Jessie Merlin
In this week's GeriPal podcast, we talk with Jessie Merlin, Palliative Care Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, who is addressing another important aspect of this issue: the role of palliative care in chronic pain. We disucss issues such as: - Do outpatient palliative care providers see patients with chronic pain currently? (please take this survey to help Jessie figure this out!) - Should palliative care fellowship training include management of chronic pain? - Is there really a distinction between "cancer pain" and "non-cancer pain?" - To what extent is or should prognosis be a factor in determining treatment of pain? - Everybody Hurts by REM (and a hack rendition)
Dec 05, 2017
Tom Gill on Distressing Symptoms, Disability, and Hospice
In this week's GeriPal Podcast, sponsored also by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, we talk with Tom Gill, MD, Professor of Medicine at Yale. With guest co-host Dan Matlock, MD, from the University of Colorado, we talk with Tom about his recent JAGS publication on the relationship between distressing symptoms, disability, and hospice enrollment. Tom conducted this study in a long running cohort of older adults that has made a number of outstanding contributions to the GeriPal literature (see links on the GeriPal website). Tom's song request? Stairway to Heaven. This podcast was recorded at the recent Beeson meeting, an aging research meeting, near Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the end, you hear about 30-40 of us singing the end of Stairway around a campfire. As in singing, "And as we wind on down the road...:" Nailed it!
Nov 22, 2017
Implicit Bias and Its Impact in Geriatrics, Hospice and Palliative Care
On this week's podcast, we have invited Dr. Kimberly Curseen to talk about how implicit bias influences us as providers in geriatrics, hospice, and palliative care, as well as the role of that cultural competence and cultural humility should play in our practice. Kimberly Curseen, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Emory School of Medicine and Director of Outpatient Supportive/Palliative Care, Emory Healthcare.
Oct 27, 2017
Gretchen Schwarze on Using Scenario Planning to Facilitate Informed Decision Making
On this GeriPal podcast we discuss the value of "scenario planning" in informed decision making with Gretchen Schwarze, Associate Professor in the Division of Vascular Surgery at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Schwarze is a board-certified vascular surgeon and medical ethicist who recently wrote an article on this subject in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Scenario planning comes from the economics literature, but Dr. Schwarze advocates for its use in medicine, giving healthcare providers the tools to say “I cannot predict the future, but if all goes well, this is what is likely to follow, and if things go poorly, this is what we can expect.” The aim is not to develop the “correct” scenario, but to describe a range of stories illustrating how the future might unfold.
Oct 10, 2017
Songs that Inspire, Move, or Make Us Think about Geriatrics or Palliative Care
Back in 2009, Pallimed created one of my favorite posts titled "Top 10 Contemporary Palliative Care Songs". In it, they made a list of "contemporary" songs from many different genres that have palliative themes. For todays podcast, we aim to update this list with songs that inspire, move, or make us think about geriatrics or palliative care. As with the Pallimed post, this is all personal preference. So we would love to hear from you. What one song would you have included in this podcast if you were sitting in the studio? Put it in the comments section on
Sep 11, 2017
Sarah Hooper on Medical Legal Practice Clinics for Seniors
On this weeks podcast, we have Sarah Hooper, J.D., the Executive Director of the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy, an interprofessional partnerships in education, research, and clinical training and service. We talk with Sarah about her work creating the Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic (MLPS) in which law students and faculty provide free legal assistance to low-income older patients at the UCSF Medical Center and at the San Francisco VA.
Sep 06, 2017
Zara Cooper the Need to Integrate Geriatrics and Palliative Care into Trauma Surgery
Zara Cooper the Need to Integrate Geriatrics and Palliative Care into Trauma Surgery by Alex Smith and Eric Widera
Sep 01, 2017
How to have a code status conversation with Laura Petrillo and a live studio audience
How to have a code status conversation with Laura Petrillo and a live studio audience by Alex Smith and Eric Widera
Aug 17, 2017
Vicki Jackson and David Ryan: Living with Cancer
Vicki Jackson and David Ryan: Living with Cancer by Alex Smith and Eric Widera
Aug 07, 2017
The Battle For Veterans' Healthcare: An Interview with Suzanne Gordon
The Veterans Healthcare System is the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States and one that trains the majority of physicians who practice in the US. We interview journalist and author Suzanne Gordon about the battle that is going on for the $70 billion spent on Veterans health every year.
Aug 01, 2017
Optimizing Aging Collaborative: An Interview with Anna Chodos
We interview Anna Chodos, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and Division of Geriatrics at UCSF, about her work in creating the Optimizing Aging Collaborative. The collaborative's goal is to enhance and unify care of older adults in the community by creating a unique partnerships between public, human service, and academic organizations. The Optimizing Aging Collaborative at UCSF, which was founded in July 2015 as a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The collaborative includes a broad array of experts to provide education and innovative services that address older adults’ health, social, and legal needs, that hopefully other cities can replicate.
Jul 22, 2017
Life After the Diagnosis: A Podcast with Steve Pantilat
On today's podcast, we interview Steve Pantilat about his new book "Life After the Diagnosis: Expert Advice on Living Well with Serious Illness for Patients and Caregivers." Steve is a Professor of Medicine, the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco, Kates-Burnard and Hellman Distinguished Professor in Palliative Care, and Founding Director, the UCSF Palliative Care Program. In his book, Steve writes to patients and family members coping with serious illnesses about the difficult decisions they face in a convoluted medical system, giving them practical advice on a wide range of common concerns. We talk with Steve about how he came up with the idea of the book, his views on living well and what a "good death is", the role that hope plays in decision making, and the language that we use in medicine that can easily be misunderstood.
Jul 10, 2017
Making Friends with the Enemies of the People: an Interview with NY Times Reporter Paula Span
This week's GeriPal Podcast features NY Times journalist Paula Span about what we can do as educators, as researchers, and as clinicians, to collaborate with the media. During Paula's extensive career as a reporter, she has written for the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Esquire, Parenting, Glamour, Ms and several city magazines. Paula currently writes at The New York Times for The New Old Age, and trains the next generation of journalists at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Jun 22, 2017
How to Recommend to Stop Cancer Screening: An Interview with Nancy Shoenborn
What should you say to your older patient when it's time to stop cancer screening? This week's GeriPal Podcast features Nancy Shoenborn, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Shoenborn published a paper in JAMA Internal Medicine this week on older adults perspectives on cancer screening cessation, and using life expectancy to justify stopping screening.
Jun 17, 2017
Vanessa Grubbs on Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers
Today's GeriPal Podcast features Vanessa Grubbs, a nephrologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF. Vanessa talks with us about her forthcoming book titled, "Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers," to be released June 13, but available for pre-order now. Dr. Grubbs' book tells the story of her journey from primary care to nephrology to palliative care, of falling in love with a man to donating a kidney to him to marriage, and of the journeys of the diverse, older, complex patients she's cared for with chronic kidney disease, who sometimes choose not to start dialysis.
Jun 09, 2017
Sandra Moody on Palliative Care in Japan
For this week's GeriPal podcast we talk with Sandra Moody, MD, about her experiences in geriatrics and palliative care in Kamogawa City, Japan. Sandra helped to start the hospice and palliative care service at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center prior to moving to Japan. We spoke with Sandra about differences between geriatrics and palliative care as practiced in the US vs. Japan.
May 31, 2017
Rebecca Sudore on Advance Care Planning: The Prepare Trial
We talked with Rebecca about the results of The Prepare Trail, a randomized controlled trial of an easy-to-read advance directive PLUS a web-based decision aid vs the easy-to-read advance directive alone in 414 older veterans with chronic disease
May 18, 2017
Churning Patients Through Care Settings at the End Of Life: An Interview with Shi-Yi Wang
A study published in JAGS reported approximately one-third of the Medicare beneficiaries who died in 2011 had four or more transitions within their last 6 months of life. We discuss with the studies author about how he became interested in transitions and why this is important.
May 10, 2017
Samir Sinha: Redesigning Health Care Systems to Be Elder Friendly
On todays podcast, we interview Dr. Samir K. Sinha, MD on how he has influenced local and national policy to redesign the care we give to older adults. Dr. Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at the Sinai Health System, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and Assistant Professor of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Among his many accomplishments is that he lead Ontario's “seniors care strategy" and is now involved in the development of a National Seniors Strategy.
May 02, 2017
Palliative Care in Rural America: An Interview with Michael Fratkin
On this weeks podcast, we interview Michael D. Fratkin, a palliative care clinician and founder of ResolutionCare, a palliative care service for rural and resource poor areas in Northern California. We discuss the barriers and benefits of providing specialty level palliative care for areas that generally have no access to these services. We also discuss novel approaches, including in-home video conferencing.
Apr 25, 2017
Sean Morrison on the Current State of Palliative Care
Today's GeriPal podcast features Sean Morrison, Geriatrician and Palliative Medicine physician, director of the National Palliative Care Research Center and the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute at Mount Sinai in New York. We talk with Sean about a new report titled, "How We Work: Trends and Insights in Hospital Palliative Care." This report was co-produced by the National Palliative Care Research Center and the Center to Advance Palliative Care. The report summarizes the current state of palliative care practice in the US.
Apr 18, 2017
Laura Hanson on Improving Advanced Dementia Care in Nursing Homes
Today's GeriPal podcast features Laura Hanson, Geriatrician and Palliative Medicine physician at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Laura discusses her recent JAMA RCT of a goals of care intervention for nursing home residents with advanced dementia.
Apr 03, 2017
Muriel Gillick: On Being Old and Sick in America's Health Care System
We discuss with geriatrician, palliative care clinician, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and author Muriel Gillick about the state of our current health care system for older adults as they journey through our health care system.
Mar 28, 2017
Mark Supiano Podcast - How Low Should We Go with Blood Pressure in Older Adults
In this GeriPal Podcast we talk with Dr. Mark A. Supiano about a blood pressure management in older adults in the light of new evidence from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). In particular, we talk about a recent paper he co-author with Jeff Williamson in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) titled "Applying the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial Results to Older Adults."
Feb 28, 2017
Jessica Zitter on Palliative Care in the ICU
We talk with Dr. Jessica Zitter, a pulmonary critical care and palliative medicine physician, and author of Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life. We talk with Jessica about her experience transitioning from being an ICU doctor to an ICU/Palliative doctor, how she is treated differently when she sees patients as an ICU attending vs a palliative care attending, the Big 3 (CPR, mechanical ventilation, and feeding tubes), and most importantly WHO she is wearing to the Oscars!
Feb 20, 2017
Nate Goldstein - The Role of Palliative Care in Heart Failure
On todays podcast we interview Nathan Goldstein, MD, Chief of the Division of Palliative Care for Mount Sinai Beth Israel. We discuss his experiences and research focused on improving communication and the delivery of palliative care to patients with advanced heart failure.
Feb 01, 2017
Vicki Jackson on Building the Evidence Base for Palliative Care
On todays podcast, we talk with Vicki Jackson, Chief of the Palliative Care Division at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, about her work in building the evidence base for palliative care.
Jan 22, 2017
Rejecting Neutrality - Reducing Burdensome Hospitalizations For Nursing Home Residents
Nursing home residents are often sent to the hospital for care that often offers little hope of improving quality of life or changing the course of illness. Some facilities though seem to do much better in preventing these "potentially burdensome hospitalizations". We discuss with Andrew Cohen, the lead author of a recent JAMA IM paper on this subject, to learn a little about what is in the secret sauce of these exceptional nursing homes.
Dec 15, 2016
Improving Serious Illness Communication By Developing Formulations
Clinical formulations, something that few of us outside of mental health providers know about, but are critical in improving communication skills, especially around serious illness. Learn about them from our special guest, Dani Chammas, who makes the case that the single most valuable thing clinicians can do to improve communication is to get into the practice of developing a formulation.
Dec 08, 2016
The Conversation - Angelo Volandes On Video Advance Care Planning
On todays podcast, we talk with Angelo Volandes about the use of video to improve advance care planning.
Dec 01, 2016
Cranberries and Urinary Tract Infections
Just in time for Thanksgiving, we are having an episode dedicated to the humble cranberry. We discuss the use of cranberries to preventing urinary tract infections with Dr. Manisha Juthani-Mehta. In addition to hearing about something called proanthocyanidin, we discuss her recent publication in JAMA on whether cranberry capsules decrease the presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria in older women living in nursing homes.
Nov 22, 2016
Hallelujah: Integrating Primary Palliative Care In The ICU
There are a lot of ways one can imagine on how to integrate palliative care into the intensive care unit (ICU). Today, we talk with ICU doctor and researcher, Bill Ehlenback, about his recent study of a proactive palliative care rounding intervention.
Nov 19, 2016
Sweet Little Lies: When Is It Ok To Lie To Patients?
Truth telling is an ethical pillar of medicine. But, are there instances when it is ever ok to lie? In this episode of the GeriPal podcast we explore the use of deception and lies in modern healthcare, including those sweet little “therapeutic lies” commonly used in dementia care. For more about this topic, and some good articles about it, visit
Nov 02, 2016
Keep Your Hands To Yourself - Mechanical ventilation in Advanced Dementia
This week’s GeriPal podcast is all about mechanical ventilation in nursing home residents with advanced dementia. In particular, we discuss a new finding that use of mechanical ventilation doubled for these individuals from 2000 to 2013 without a substantial improvement in survival.
Oct 27, 2016
When Breath Becomes Air - A Review of a Review
The second GeriPal podcast is a book review of "When Breath Becomes Air."
Oct 18, 2016
Bed Alarms and why Not to Use Them
This is the first of the GeriPal podcasts focused on all things geriatrics, hospice, and palliative care.
Oct 05, 2016