Respiratory Symptoms in the Terminally Ill Patient

We offered this webinar on October 24, 2019.

The goal of this webinar is to educate healthcare professionals on interventions for cough, dyspnea, hemoptysis and the “death rattle” in patients with end-of-life respiratory symptoms.

Healthcare professionals will explore effective therapeutic, pharmacological and nonpharmacological options for managing respiratory symptoms and underlying conditions so that advanced illness patients and their families can receive optimal hospice and palliative care.

What Attendees Learned at this Webinar

  1. Respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, respiratory secretions, and hemoptysis are common end-of-life symptoms and key drivers of emergency department utilization and hospitalization in patients with life-limiting, advanced illnesses.
  2. Respiratory symptoms are often linked to underlying serious conditions or diagnoses, including heart failure, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia/ aspiration pneumonia, sepsis, cancer, neurologic diseases, pleural effusion, pulmonary embolism and complications from medical treatments.
  3. Pharmacologic interventions for dyspnea and cough include oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, cough suppressants, expectorants, antihistamines, decongestants, antacid medications, oral steroids,(occasional) antibiotics, or inotropes, diuretics, thoracentesis, inhaled anesthetics, opioids and gabapentinoids.
  4. Nonpharmacologic interventions for dyspnea and cough include improved patient positioning to reduce secretions, chest percussion therapy, air humidifiers, saline nebulizers, lozenges/hard candies and minimal exposure to airborne irritants.
  5. For hemoptysis, pharmacologic interventions include cough suppressants, saline nebulizers, interventional radiation, and CT-guided or bronchial arteriogram embolization, laser coagulation or cryotherapy for bleeding; nonpharmacological interventions include visualization therapy, psychosocial support and family/caregiver education.

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Featured VITAS Expert

Eric Shaban MD

Eric Shaban, MD

Regional Medical Director - Northeast and Midwest, VITAS Healthcare

Eric Shaban, MD is a Regional Medical Director for VITAS Healthcare. Dr. Shaban collaborates on clinical programs and supports the growth of VITAS’ programs in Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Prior to joining VITAS in 2011, Dr. Shaban completed a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Michael R. Katz MD Award by AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

He is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

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