Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Partners with Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter to Provide Palliative Care Services
Lake Forest Hospital January 04, 2012
Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital partners with Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter to provide palliative care services
LAKE FOREST, IL – Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital announced that it has entered into an agreement with Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter (Midwest CareCenter) to provide clinical, educational and administrative services for the palliative care needs of the hospital’s patients. This partnership establishes a comprehensive service and interdisciplinary team that consists of physicians, advance practice nurses, social workers and chaplains. The goal is to better serve patients and families confronted with serious and life-limiting illness and to enhance the quality of care and support for these individuals and their families.
The palliative care service is a dynamic collaborative endeavor that combines the palliative medicine specialists of Midwest CareCenter with the healthcare professionals of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. Midwest CareCenter’s team will integrate and support the care of patients, tailoring the approach to best serve patients, families and the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital healthcare team.
According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, integration of palliative care is expected to improve control of patients’ physical symptoms and reduce depression and a family’s overall anxiety. As a result, care plans are more realistic, appropriate and consistent with patients’ preferences. Conflicts about the use of life-sustaining treatments are reduced, and patients are expected to experience earlier transitions to appropriate settings. There are benefits to the hospital as well, including reduced use of non-beneficial treatments, reduced hospital length of stay, reduced readmissions to the hospital and improved patient safety and satisfaction with care.
“We are pleased at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital to collaborate with Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter on this important program to better serve our patients,” said Michael Ankin, MD, FACP, FCCP, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer for Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. “Integrating the expertise of these dedicated and professional practitioners will augment the already superior clinical care delivered at our hospital. As our population ages, chronic illness makes up an ever increasing challenge for our patients. This collaboration will help us best address their needs, not only within our hospital walls, but also throughout our community.”
“Palliative care should be a standard part of healthcare delivery in order to enhance the care and treatment of serious and chronic diseases and help families and patients weather the storm of illness,” says Martha L. Twaddle, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, chief medical officer for Midwest CareCenter. “Our goal is to give Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital patients access to outstanding palliative care services, and we will collaborate with all members of the healthcare team, including chaplains, home health agencies, dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, social workers and others, as needed.”
Dr. Twaddle noted that palliative medicine is increasingly acknowledged as a benefit to patients with a range of diagnoses, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease and many others. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that cancer patients receiving palliative care early in their illness may live longer, with lower incidence of depression and with a better overall quality of life. “This study and others confirm what I have seen myself in caring for patients with serious or life-limiting diseases—palliative care is an important part of the healthcare continuum,” commented Dr. Twaddle.
Palliative care programs are increasing in hospitals across the U.S. In September 2011, The Joint Commission announced that accredited hospitals now have the option to seek “Advance Certification in Palliative Care,” recognizing the importance of palliative care to overall quality of care.
Dr. Twaddle says palliative care should be integrated into the treatment plan for any person facing a serious or life-threatening illness. Palliative care practitioners work with the patient, family and patient’s physician/s to clarify the goals of care, the practical needs of patients and families and the overall impact of the illness. It benefits patients who:
- Need symptom management support, including treating pain, dyspnea, nausea, anxiety or depression.
- Have issues related to progressive or age-related conditions that limit independence or the ability to live fully.
- Need help with identifying the physical, psychological, spiritual and practical burdens of illness.