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UPMC Media Relations 

UPMC Palliative Care Program Recognized With Circle of Life Honor

PITTSBURGH, July 11, 2011 UPMC today was recognized for its innovative program that improves the care of patients near the end of life or with life-threatening conditions with a Circle of Life Citation of Honor from the American Hospital Association (AHA). The Circle of Life Award celebrates programs across the nation that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care.

A team of health care professionals work together as part of UPMC’s palliative care program to provide comfort to patients near the end of life. The program integrates family support with inpatient, outpatient and home care. 

“It’s a great honor for UPMC’s palliative care program to be honored with this citation,” said Robert Arnold, M.D., chief medical officer, UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute. “Our goal is to help people with serious illness maintain the best quality of life possible, whether it be through managing pain, providing support to their families or facilitating conversations about the kind of care they expect.”

UPMC was selected by leaders in medicine, nursing, social work, ethics and health administration. The committee focused on innovative programs that respect patient goals and preferences, provide comprehensive care, acknowledge and address the family or caregivers’ concerns and needs, and build systems and mechanisms of support to continue the program for future patients and caregivers.

This is the 12th year for the Circle of Life Award. The 2011 awards are supported, in part, by the California HealthCare Foundation and the Archstone Foundation, based in Oakland, Calif. Major sponsors are the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association, National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation. The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the National Association of Social Workers are Circle of Life co-sponsors. The Circle of Life Award is a program administered by the Health Research & Educational Trust.

“A patient needing palliative or end-of-life care faces difficult challenges that must be addressed with skill and unique expertise,” said AHA president and CEO, Rich Umbdenstock. “These winners exemplify what the health care field is striving for: compassionate care for patients and families at all times. These innovative programs serve as guiding lights for others on this path.”

For more information on the Circle of Life Award, visit www.aha.org/circleoflife.

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