A just published study says adults with recent-onset diabetes who have lost weight – even as little as 1 pound – are at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The greater the weight loss, the higher the risk.

Published online at JAMA Oncology, the study found that individuals with recent-onset diabetes who lost between 1 and 4 pounds had a 25% higher risk of pancreatic cancer, while those whose weight loss was more than 8 pounds had a 92% higher risk than those who had no weight loss.

When compared to those without diabetes, the risk of developing cancer was almost 7 times higher for those with the biggest weight loss.

That there’s an association between diabetes and pancreatic cancer is well known. Previous studies have shown that recent-onset diabetes and unintentional weight loss could lead to developing pancreatic cancer.

“The more novel finding here is that when both risk factors are combined, the risk is even greater,” said Peter Campbell, PhD, scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society.

The significance of these findings, according to the researchers, is that individuals with recent-onset diabetes accompanied by weight loss “may be a group for whom early detection strategies would be advantageous.”

“Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 10%,” wrote Chen Yuan, ScD, with the Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and his research colleagues.

“This low survival rate is largely associated with the diagnosis occurring at an advanced stage when the cancer is no longer curable.”

By monitoring high risk individuals, as is done with those having a family history of pancreatic cancer, the chance of detecting it early improves markedly and substantially increases the survival rate.

How aggressively this should be done for those with recent-onset diabetes and weight loss requires additional study, the researchers said.

However, “The coexistence of these symptoms should be recognized by clinicians given that both the relative and absolute risks for pancreatic cancer are high, particularly in individuals with healthy weight before weight loss or those who are not trying to lose weight through changes in physical activity or diet.”

Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash


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Green Key

Winning Teams Solve Pandemic Problems in First Nurse Hackathon

Five teams of nurses and technologists are winners for the innovative projects they entered in the first Nurse Hack 4 Health virtual hackathon.

sen out of 30 entries, the winning teams earned the highest scores for their solutions to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic laid out in five categories ranging from “Acute Care Patient Monitoring” to “Resiliency & Self-Care.”

Sponsored by Microsoft, John & Johnson, dev up and the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs & Leaders (SONSEIL), the entries were judged on “solutions that answer the challenge, but also do so in a way that balances simplicity with creativity.” A second criterion was the project’s readiness: “High scores will be given to solutions that are ready to deploy, provide appropriate instruction for use, etc.”

The 25 judges included practicing nurses, Microsoft’s chief nursing officer, the dean of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, software application and development firm executives, the head of Deloitte’s Healthcare Transformation team and senior executives in technology and nursing and HCP strategy at Johnson & Johnson.

All the participating team solutions that made it to the final round are open source, posted on GitHub to enable health systems and others to, as the hackathon sponsors explained, “make changes needed to fit their systems or processes.”

From DailyNurse, here is a brief look at the winners and their projects. (The links go to each team’s video presentation for the judges):

Resiliency & Self-Care category – The team developed Well Nurse a peer-to-peer app to help nurses cope with stress, connect with one another, and identify best practices to foster mental well-being.

Acute Care Patient Monitoring category — HearNow connects patients and their loved ones separated by social distancing. With this system, loved ones can transmit video and audio messages from home that nurses can share when patients are alert and in need of comfort.

Data & Reporting category – The team’s project Activate School Nurses connects h school nurses with nursing students in need of clinical experience who will assist them in preparing for school reopening and maintain and monitor student health data to reduce the danger of further outbreaks.

Patient Care Coordination category – In a busy facility, it can take time to locate needed equipment. Nurse GPS proposes to solve that challenge by tracking equipment, giving nurses the floor and room location for each device. The aim is to reduce delays and lessen the danger of infection by making it unnecessary for a nurse to leave and reenter a room multiple times.

At-Home Patient Monitoring category – Social distancing and stay at home directives are driving a boom in telemedicine. But in areas with broadband access and among groups, especially seniors, without smartphones, remote access to medical professionals is difficult or impossible. Project Flourish works around those limitations, using a 1990s era technology to broaden the reach of telemedicine in rural areas and among seniors.  

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash


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Jun 6, 2023

Hiring In Health Home Care Is As Tough As Ever

Far from becoming an employer market, hiring home health care workers is as hard as ever, industry executives say.

In SeptemberHome Health Care News said industry jobs posted on Indeed were trending down, suggesting “home health and home care agencies simply aren’t looking to fill as many positions.” With the national unemployment rate at 8.4% in August and fewer jobs to fill, agencies would have an easier time recruiting.

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Even then, some agency leaders felt differently.

“I think we have to respectfully disagree with that point, because it is challenging for us to find caregivers — and very challenging for us also finding the right one,” Ryan Iwamoto, the president and co-founder of 24 Hour Home Care, said in September. “That has been probably the biggest challenge that we’ve had.”

Now, an October survey by myCNAjobs found 57% of 281 participating home health care agencies admitting they are struggling with recruiting staff. Only 5% maintain they are doing well.

Despite a still high unemployment rate, hiring workers has become so much a challenge that 71% of the agencies report turning down business because they didn’t have the staff.

One important reason for the recruiting difficulty, according to 87% of the agencies, is COVID. 72% said the pandemic has also made retention and scheduling more difficult.

Just getting people to apply for a job is difficult. Almost 3 in 10 agencies say they get too few applicants; 23% say they can’t get applicants to call them back. And 35% say when an interview is scheduled, the candidates simply don’t show up.

That’s lead the industry to try bold new recruiting methods and experiment with flexibility in requirements and scheduling for their workers.

“COVID will reshape the labor market in many industries for quite some time,” said Brandi Kurtyka, the CEO of myCNAjobs, speaking at the online conference of the Home Care Association of America last month.

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That’s already the case at Alternate Solutions Health Network, one of the largest operators in the country.

Amy Smith, corporate VP of revenue cycles, told Home Health Care News that Alternate Solutions courts restaurant workers. After bringing several on staff, the company discovered their experience in the busy, customer-focused food service environment taught them how to multitask effectively.

Instead of leaning toward candidates with health care experience, the company now looks more for candidates able to multitask, undaunted by the need to “start, pause, start something else, pause, and go back to something that was started weeks ago.”

Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash


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