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Forbes Regional Hospital Offers Palliative Care Program

Forbes Regional Hospital Offers Palliative Care Program

Forbes Regional Hospital Offers Palliative Care Program

By Maria Synan, Staff Writer

Beginning in July, Forbes Regional Hospital will offer a palliative care consultation service to physicians, nurses, patients and families. Palliative care is different from hospice and focuses on improving the quality of life of people facing serious and chronic illness.

Supporting this program is a full-time family medicine nurse practitioner, Terry Hurley, CRNP, who will be available to assist both inpatients and home-bound patients with pain and symptom management, care team coordination and communication. Another aspect of Ms. Hurley’s job is to help patients determine their healthcare goals. “Palliative care is different for every patient,” says Ms. Hurley. “I work closely with patients to provide them with information regarding their care options, and then we formulate a plan individualized to them and their wishes.” She works closely with all members of a patient’s care team, including physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists and others.

Many patients receiving palliative care choose to be at home says Ms. Hurley. “They want to be at home where they are comfortable versus receiving aggressive care or treatments in a hospital setting.”

Studies have shown that patients who receive palliative care actually live longer than patients with chronic illnesses and diseases who do not receive palliative care. “Several studies show that palliative care consults help patients’ quality of life,” said Randy Hebert, MD, Medical Director of Forbes Hospice. In addition to benefiting patients, palliative care programs benefit hospitals. “Hospitals that have palliative care programs experience decreased costs, since patients are choosing to be at home to receive care,” said Dr. Hebert. “We are able to decrease costs while improving patient outcomes.”

Since palliative care also focuses on communications between patients and their care teams, patients’ care tends to be better managed and to involve fewer high-level services such as stays in the intensive care unit. Patients are also better transitioned to home or hospice care, which decreases the rate of hospital readmissions.

To learn more about the FRH Palliative Care Program, call 412.398.8454.