For more than two years, the Inpatient Palliative Care Program at UHS has been helping to improve the quality of life for patients with serious or terminal illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease or dementia. Now, to further help the community, UHS is expanding the program to include outpatient palliative care, based out of UHS Vestal.
The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat symptoms and side effects of an illness and its treatment, as well as address psychological, social and spiritual needs. At UHS, palliative medicine is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers and chaplains.
“The interdisciplinary team is key,” says Kris Marks, LCSW-R, OSW-C, administrative director of Palliative Care at UHS. “Our physicians are board- certified in palliative care, and we are able to pull in all the people who are needed, whether it’s for medical, emotional or spiritual support.”
Support can include managing pain or anxiety, developing advance directives, meeting spiritual needs, and supporting family and friends. While palliative care can benefit patients at any age and at any time during a serious illness, it is especially important throughout a patient’s experience with cancer, which is often complex.
“There’s a lot that is provided,” says Ms. Marks. “Our goal is to help patients and their families understand their options, and make informed decisions for themselves or their loved ones.”
Learn more about the Palliative Care Program, which requires a physician referral.