Beginning this week, UCSF Medical Center palliative care experts will host health care professionals from California, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. Additional trainings are scheduled for June, September and November, 2004.
"While interest in end-of-life care is growing, only 18 percent of hospitals in California offer these services to patients," said Steven Pantilat, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of the palliative care service at UCSF Medical Center. "Our leadership center offers hospitals the expertise, technical assistance and skills necessary to jump start these programs."
Visiting healthcare teams will get information on everything from financial and operational dimensions of establishing a palliative care program to hospice-hospital collaborations. The leadership centers are supported by a nationwide initiative -- The Center to Advance Palliative Care -- and funded by a $4.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
In addition to UCSF Medical Center, the other centers are located at Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, MN; Massey Cancer Center of Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, VA; Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; Mount Carmel Health System, Columbus, OH; and Palliative Care Center of the Bluegrass, Lexington, KY.
The UCSF Medical Center Palliative Care Service focuses on helping patients achieve the best possible quality of life, said Pantilat. The service includes physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers and pharmacists who work together to address many of the issues that arise for patients facing the end of life and their families, he said.