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July 10, 2014

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
The process of prescribing medications, explaining the risks and benefits has classically been the role and responsibility of physicians with support from other health care providers such as pharmacists. In the modern age with the phenomenal expansion of the digital world, the world of the internet has become a major player. It is common for physicians to have to contend with and integrate into their practice the common phenomenon of family members looking at the internet and other sources for information about medications proposed for their loved ones.
Key Words: internet, medications, information, responsibility.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

May 8, 2014

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
Diabetes Mellitus is very prevalent in the older population. It is one of the important causes of vascular problems which may play a role in the development of dementia, especially of the mixed variety. There has been much progress in the potential medications that can help promote successful glucose control and address the other metabolic correlates of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Sulfonylureas should be used rarely and very carefully in older especially frail individuals because of their inherent risks. Getting physicians to change their prescribing practices in this frail elderly diabetic population is an important challenge to educators and drug program administrators.
Key Words: diabetes mellitus, sulfonylureas, diabetic management, treatment.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

April 3, 2014

When I tell people that what I do professionally...

When I tell people that what I do professionally is “look after older people,” I often hear responses such as: “Oh, that must be so depressing;” or sometimes, “Isn’t that wonderful, you must be a special human being;” and on occasion, “there are so few of you—what will be in the future with so many old people using up health care resources?” When I add that I am also involved in palliative care, you can imagine the response, but usually permut

March 31, 2014

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
The end of one's life is always a challenge for all involved; the patient reaching what may be recognized as the last stages of life, family members who in general only want the best for their loved one, and health care professionals who are professionally, legally, and ethically dedicated to provide the best care possible. For health care providers who combine the philosophy of palliative and hospice care with the care of elders, even greater challenges commonly occur because of the complex nature of family dynamics, relationships, and belief systems, that often influence family expectations and thus patient care. The challenge to healthcare providers is to navigate the many potential minefields when such challenges exist. When successful, the satisfaction that result from achieving a clinically compassionate, caring, and comfortable death for the patient and give solace to the family are well worth the effort.
Key Words:Hospice care, palliative care, end-of-life care, family conflicts, ethical and legal duties of staff, palliative sedation, client-centered care, patient-centered care.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

February 5, 2014

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
The use of artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) has become relatively commonplace. With the development of the PEG years ago, the difficulties that surrounded the use of naso-gastric feeding tubes have all but disappeared. However, the clinical, ethical and legal aspects of ANH have replaced issues of procedural techniques and the discomfort experienced by older patients when the nasogastric tubes were used for prolonged periods. Many in the field of aging and long-term care in particular are particularly sensitive to the long-term implications for the patient and family once ANH is implemented. The issues of starting such intervention when its discontinuation may cause moral conflict, legal challenges and for many who are believers religious conundrums must be considered especially when such decisions are being made during a period of crises and clinical uncertainty.
Key Words: artificial nutrition, hydration, long-term care, implications.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

December 16, 2013

 

November 25, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
With the rapidly increasing numbers of elders in North American Society, the prevalence of those living with dementia is clearly on the increase. According to the most recent document provided by the Alzheimer Society of Canada, The Rising Tide the growth in the numbers of those living with dementia will increase from 480,600 in 2008 (1.5% of Canada's population) to in the year 2038—1,125,200 people with dementia (2.8% of Canada's population).1 All the challenges that Canadian society faces with this growing population merely mirror the enormous complexities that those living with dementia, their families and health care professional providers must increasingly contend with. Government policy makers must find ways to address this increasing population in which Dementia plays a prominent role. The result of the Supreme Court ruling on the Rasouli case has major potential implication for those facing the later stages of dementia and those under whose care members of this population will be entrusted.
Key Words: dementia, aging population, substitute decision makers.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

November 25, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
With the rapidly increasing numbers of elders in North American Society, the prevalence of those living with dementia is clearly on the increase. According to the most recent document provided by the Alzheimer Society of Canada, The Rising Tide the growth in the numbers of those living with dementia will increase from 480,600 in 2008 (1.5% of Canada's population) to in the year 2038—1,125,200 people with dementia (2.8% of Canada's population).1 All the challenges that Canadian society faces with this growing population merely mirror the enormous complexities that those living with dementia, their families and health care professional providers must increasingly contend with. Government policy makers must find ways to address this increasing population in which Dementia plays a prominent role. The result of the Supreme Court ruling on the Rasouli case has major potential implication for those facing the later stages of dementia and those under whose care members of this population will be entrusted.
Key Words: dementia, aging population, substitute decision makers.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

October 18, 2013

Not everyone with an illness causing dementia develops behavioural issues, often called BPSD...

It is clear to anyone who has lived with and cared for someone experiencing dementia or looking after a group of such individuals in a long-term care facility, that the issues of memory and recall are not the ones that play havoc with the individual and their caregivers, but the behavioural challenges.

September 26, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

The last decade has seen an enormous growth in the interest in the recognition of and intervention in those diagnosed and living with the whole range of cognitive impairment and frank dementia. In the western world, the recognition of the impact on patients, families, health care systems, and societies that dementia poses has led to great efforts to help define the indicators for current and future dementia with the intention to treat those already afflicted even with the primarily symptomatic medications that exist and to recognize those at future risk with the hope of providing counselling to forestall its future development. The idea of "early diagnosis" appears at first glance to be attractive for the purposes of future planning and research studies, but it is not clear what the benefits and risks might be if screening processes define people at risk when beneficial interventions might not yet be determined. The ethical as well as financial implications must be explored and defined before implementation of such screening becomes a normal standard of practice.practice.
Key Words: cognitive impairment, dementia, screening, biomarkers, cognitive testing.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

September 26, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

The last decade has seen an enormous growth in the interest in the recognition of and intervention in those diagnosed and living with the whole range of cognitive impairment and frank dementia. In the western world, the recognition of the impact on patients, families, health care systems, and societies that dementia poses has led to great efforts to help define the indicators for current and future dementia with the intention to treat those already afflicted even with the primarily symptomatic medications that exist and to recognize those at future risk with the hope of providing counselling to forestall its future development. The idea of "early diagnosis" appears at first glance to be attractive for the purposes of future planning and research studies, but it is not clear what the benefits and risks might be if screening processes define people at risk when beneficial interventions might not yet be determined. The ethical as well as financial implications must be explored and defined before implementation of such screening becomes a normal standard of practice.practice.
Key Words: cognitive impairment, dementia, screening, biomarkers, cognitive testing.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

August 22, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

The prevalence of dementia appears to be increasing in most western countries. That when coupled with the increased average age of the older population has leads to an expectation that projections of financial costs to individuals, families and to society will grow over the next few decades. The current study, out of the United States, based on a number of robust data bases coupled with in-depth interviews has resulted in projections of the current true costs of caring for elderly people living with dementia. It also allowed for the projection of future costs over the next three decades. The results are quite mind-boggling: "We found that dementia leads to total annual societal costs of $41,000 to $56,000 per case, with a total cost of $159 billion to $215 billion nationwide in 2010. Our calculations suggest that the aging of the U.S. population will result in an increase of nearly 80% in total societal costs per adult by 2040."

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

August 22, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

The prevalence of dementia appears to be increasing in most western countries. That when coupled with the increased average age of the older population has leads to an expectation that projections of financial costs to individuals, families and to society will grow over the next few decades. The current study, out of the United States, based on a number of robust data bases coupled with in-depth interviews has resulted in projections of the current true costs of caring for elderly people living with dementia. It also allowed for the projection of future costs over the next three decades. The results are quite mind-boggling: "We found that dementia leads to total annual societal costs of $41,000 to $56,000 per case, with a total cost of $159 billion to $215 billion nationwide in 2010. Our calculations suggest that the aging of the U.S. population will result in an increase of nearly 80% in total societal costs per adult by 2040."

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

August 16, 2013

There are pros and cons of the new digital world. On the one hand for physicians the transmission of important medical information, especially about advances in medicine and concerns about well-established or novel treatments assists all of us in the world of health care to be as “up-to-date” as possible. Anyone in the field recognizes that there is an apparent constant Rocky Mountain avalanche or Hurricane Sandy flood of new information coming from endless sources...

There are pros and cons of the new digital world. On the one hand for physicians the transmission of important medical information, especially about advances in medicine and concerns about well-established or novel treatments assists all of us in the world of health care to be as “up-to-date” as possible.

July 15, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

On March 4, 2013, an article written by the Associated Press described the death from an apparent cardiac arrest of Lorraine Bayless, an 87 year old resident of Glenwood Gardens, a California independent living home in Bakersfield California.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

June 11, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

It was magical: the images coming to life at the bottom of the plastic tray filled with Kodak developer. First the blacks came and then the grays, as they coalesced into the picture I witnessed the excitement anticipated from scanning the negative and then the contact sheet that had all 24 pictures from the roll of film on it.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

June 11, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

It was magical: the images coming to life at the bottom of the plastic tray filled with Kodak developer. First the blacks came and then the grays, as they coalesced into the picture I witnessed the excitement anticipated from scanning the negative and then the contact sheet that had all 24 pictures from the roll of film on it.

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

June 3, 2013

Most health care professionals involved in eldercare have had the experience...

Most health care professionals involved in eldercare have had the experience that some of those we look after seem to be able to recall past experiences with a degree of intensity that may be very disquieting and may even lead to what gets interpreted as agitated behaviour. These same individuals may have had the personal experience as I have from my own life experience, some memories; even those very distant, when recalled are almost as vivid as when they first occurred.

May 21, 2013

I returned from a medical conference overseas...

I returned from a medical conference overseas. As I entered the living room, I could see the small walnut side table my wife emailed me about while I was away. It was placed in front of the gas fireplace, next to my favourite "relax" chair and was the perfect colour and size to fit there, waiting for a cup of coffee, a portable phone and the controller for the small stereo next to it.

January 14, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

In the winter and spring of 2012 I was privileged to be part of the executive working group that organized the fourth Canadian Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia (CCCDTD4) which took place in May 2012. The process as described in both of the initial publications that came out in the fall of 2012 included many participants from all of those physician groups involved in caring for those at risk of dementia, as well as those not-for-profit organizations involved in educating the public.

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

January 14, 2013

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

In the winter and spring of 2012 I was privileged to be part of the executive working group that organized the fourth Canadian Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia (CCCDTD4) which took place in May 2012. The process as described in both of the initial publications that came out in the fall of 2012 included many participants from all of those physician groups involved in caring for those at risk of dementia, as well as those not-for-profit organizations involved in educating the public.

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

December 10, 2012

Originally published in December 2012 on the Baycrest.org

What I found surprising about the National Post article was that one would think after reading it that offering dying patients more choices in their end-of-life care was a novel idea...

Originally published in December 2012 on the Baycrest.org

November 20, 2012

It is always amazing when one is working in the field of medicine to discover new additions that are useful and something that will change one's approach. That is one of the wonderful things about medicine; that there is so much room for creativity while maintaining the essence of good science and coupling it with humanity and care.

November 20, 2012

It is always amazing when one is working in the field of medicine to discover new additions that are useful and something that will change one's approach. That is one of the wonderful things about medicine; that there is so much room for creativity while maintaining the essence of good science and coupling it with humanity and care.