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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 27 March
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Tuesday 27 March 2007
A carer holds an elderly woman's hand

Full programme transcript >>

Palliative Care
 
In this episode of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter looks at palliative care – a burgeoning speciality dedicated to looking after people whose illnesses are advanced, progressive and incurable, with the aim of achieving the best possible quality of life for both the patient and their family.

His guest in the studio is John Ellershaw, Professor of Palliative Medicine at the University of Liverpool and Director of the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute.

Morphine

When it comes to treating moderate to severe pain, there is nothing better than morphine and related drugs from the opiate family, but they have a mixed reputation. 

It's often thought that opiates cause unwanted side effects such as sedation, loss of control and addiction, but in reality, when used properly, drugs like morphine are extremely safe, and the only troublesome side effect with long term use tends to be constipation.

Dr Claud Regnard, Consultant in Palliative Care Medicine at St Oswald’s Hospital in Newcastle, helps Mark to correct the misconceptions that surround morphine.

End of Life Care Programme

The NHS's End of Life Care Programme is designed to help a range of different carers meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the dying. 

This includes the Liverpool Care Pathway – a guide to carers to help them identify and deal with problems that may arise in the last few days or hours before a person dies.

It was developed to take the best standards of care from within hospices and extend them to hospitals and other settings.

David Wilkinson, a staff nurse at the Whiston Hospital on Merseyside, describes how the pathway forms the backbone of the care of the terminally ill.

And Mark hears how adoption of the programme varies depending on where the person is being cared for.
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