PITTSBURGH, June 18, 1999 — The Palliative Care Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has opened a palliative care outpatientclinic for patients and families facing a serious illness.
The Palliative Care Program currently provides coordinated services to hospitalized seriously and terminally ill patients and their families. It emphasizes relief from pain and other distressing symptoms, integration of physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care, and development of a support system both to help patients live as actively as possible until death and to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in bereavement.
The outpatient clinic, located in UPMC’s Falk Clinic, provides similar services in an ambulatory setting. Patients and families facing cancer, end-stage heart or lung disease or degenerative neurological disease receive a comprehensive evaluation by the physician-led palliative care team.
"The clinic is for those who are not yet hospitalized and for recently hospitalized patients," said Robert Arnold, M.D., director of the palliative care program, associate director of the UPMC Center for Medical Ethics, and director of the section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, Division of General Internal Medicine. "We evaluate challenging symptoms such as pain, nausea, anxiety, shortness of breath and devise a treatment plan with close follow-up."
In-depth discussions with patients and families about advance care planning, transitioning toward palliative care, options for home care and hospice, and other psychosocial challenges occur in close consultation with the referring physician.
"In the palliative care outpatient clinic, our goal is to work with families and patients to help maintain the highest possible quality of life for patients with life-threatening illnesses," said Linda King, M.D., director of the clinic.
The clinic is staffed by a physician, a nurse practitioner and social worker with support from a pharmacist, psychologist and chaplaincy services. All these individuals have expertise in palliative care. The team works closely with the patient’s primary providers to ensure coordinated care.
For information, please contact the Palliative Care Program at 412-692-4888.