Center to Advance Palliative Care

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A Bridge to Inspiration - A Palliative Care Story

Veronica Hojnacki, RN, BS, CHPN
Pedro Calves, MD, FACP, FCCP
Donato M. Balsamo, DO
Eileen Roberto, RN, BS, CHPN Send Email
Diane Reilly, RN, C BSN, CHPN
Cindy Saraceno, RN, CHPN
Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center
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(Click on poster to view full image in pop up window)

Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center Description of Institution/Program

GSHMC is a 537-bed (including 100 nursing home beds) MAGNET designated community hospital. The Palliative Care Program is a consultation service supported by an interdisciplinary team providing acute palliative care in a dedicated 11-bed acute palliative care unit and throughout the hospital.

Description of Topic

The philosophy of palliative care is to support those who suffer the devastating effects of serious, life limiting or chronic diseases. Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center's Palliative Care Service supports this philosophy, providing physical, spiritual and psychosocial support to our inpatients, but we felt our service should expand beyond the hospital walls. We looked to the community for services to help support our clientele. Several community-spirited businesses, along with hospital volunteers, have partnered with our program to provide uplifting experiences to those most in need. This poster will describe the relationships we have developed with the community to enhance our patients' well being. Through community lectures, outreach programs and newspaper articles, our service was contacted by a local senior citizens' quilting group. They expressed interest in donating handmade quilts for each palliative patient. One male member designs and makes military quilts for our veterans. One quilt donation reunited one of our patients with her long lost cousin. A salon and spa in a neighboring town provides complimentary hair care, manicures and pedicures when they are informed of a patient in need. We have partnered with local restaurants and hotels who donate over night stays and gift certificates that provide lasting memories for families. Within the hospital, Child Life Specialists work with our interdisciplinary team to support patients and their children with end of life discussion. The Breast Health Center boutique donates wigs and scarves for those in need.

Impact on Program

The partnerships between the community, volunteers and the Palliative Care Team provide respite from doctors, hospital and disease. These interventions improved patient satisfaction while the emotional boost the patient experiences is immeasurable. Our community partnerships have enhanced our program by adding that extra layer of care to our clients who so often become "patients".

Lessons Learned

When a local Spa comes to a dying patients bedside to dye her hair as part of her last wish, or a quilt, made by volunteers, connects a family, or the Child Life Specialist coach a family to speak to a grieving child, these moments remind us that although "medical interventions" are of utmost importance, it is those memories that will stay with a family forever. To quote one family, "After my husband died I did not keep many things, but I will never part with his quilt" These stories keep us focused and committed to remaining present to all possibilities while reminding us that although we may not be able to change the future, we can impact someone's present.

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