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[psychiatry-research] ACP-ASIM Panel: Treat depression in the dying

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  • Ian Pitchford
    FOR RELEASE: 31 JANUARY 2000 AT 17:00 ET US American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine http://www.acponline.org/ ACP-ASIM Panel:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1 11:26 AM
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      FOR RELEASE: 31 JANUARY 2000 AT 17:00 ET US
      American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine
      http://www.acponline.org/

      ACP-ASIM Panel: Treat depression in the dying

      PHILADELPHIA -- (February 1, 2000) Dying patients are often depressed, yet
      depression - even "normal" grieving - often goes undiagnosed or unrecognized
      by the patient, family or the physician, according to the American College of
      Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) End-of-Life Care
      Consensus Panel. In a new paper, the panel shows physicians how to identify
      and manage depression in the terminally ill patient and encourages them to do
      so.

      The ACP-ASIM paper says that wise management of 'normal' grieving and
      treatment of more severe depression can improve the quality of the patient's
      life. The paper, "Assessing and Managing Depression in the Terminally Ill
      Patient," appears in the February 1, 2000, issue of Annals of Internal
      Medicine.

      The paper discusses three hypothetical cases. One illustrates the assessment
      and management of normal or appropriate grieving; the second, the diagnosis
      and treatment of more severe depression; and the third, the assessment and
      management of patients with ideas of suicide. The paper points out that many
      symptoms of depression at the end of the life can be easily controlled with
      state-of-the-art psychosocial interventions and/or drug treatments.

      The paper was written by Susan Block, MD, chief of adult psychosocial
      oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Assistant Professor of
      Medicine at Harvard Medical School, for the ACP-ASIM End-of-Life Care
      Consensus Panel. ACP-ASIM convened this panel of experts on end-of-life care
      in 1997 to develop ethical, policy and clinical recommendations that, if
      adopted, will lead to demonstrably better care at the end of life. The papers
      provide guidance to physicians caring for dying patients but are also useful
      for patients and families. To date, three other papers have been published
      and are available on the ACP-ASIM Web site (www.acponline.org/ethics).

      ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty organization, with a
      membership of 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students.
      Internists provide the majority of health care to adults in America. ACP-ASIM
      publishes the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Internal Medicine twice
      monthly.
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