That's why Sutter has included its palliative care program under the umbrella of the Advanced Illness Management Program that Stuart created for what he terms a "vulnerable and growing population." While palliative care is often focused on the "relief of symptoms and suffering," Stuart says, "our focus is much more positive."
Multidisciplinary teams include physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists and nutritionists. Various elements focus on the specific needs, of course—and wants—of patients. While physicians often outline the medication needs for patients, the Advanced Illness Management Program always considers "what does the patient want?" Stuart says. It's the "little things" that matter, too often lost in traditional medical care.
Ultimately, it's personal connections that make palliative care work, Nisco says. "We need to sit down and get to know the person as a person, what are their likes and dislikes," Nisco adds. "It is important "to follow the patient's wishes, and easing their transition of care."
Essentially, "we're helping people live the lives they want, and in so doing we are shifting the focus of care out of the hospital into the home and community," Stuart adds. "And I think what's happening we're developing a much wider and deeper footprint for the healthcare system out in the community."
"We are taking more seriously those little things that a patient wants or needs," Stuart says. "It's like the patient walking to the dinner table with their family, seeing a granddaughter graduate from high school. We make those personal goals the priority and then design care plans to match those," Stuart adds. "That causes a very interesting shift in priorities, not only for the care team but people."