Cancer Care Symposium
Friday, August 7, 2015, 5–8:30 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Monterey, Monterey, California
Symposium and dinner: $50
Bridging the gap in primary, specialty, and hospitalist care
Palliative medicine generally refers to patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and alleviating suffering across the continuum of an illness and aligning treatment with patient goals. Historically, palliative medicine has been viewed as a service available only to patients enrolled in hospice or at the end of life. More recently, palliative medicine has been recognized as benefiting any patient with a serious medical condition; its meaning has evolved to encompass comprehensive care that may be provided alongside life-prolonging treatment.
Palliative medicine is the most recently recognized medical subspecialty in the US. Given this, we should view care continuity among palliative medicine, primary care physicians, and hospitalists with the same importance we do with other subspecialties.
For the large number of patients with advanced and serious illnesses to benefit from palliative medicine, it is important that “primary palliative care” be part of what all treating clinicians provide their patients with serious and complex illness. This care should include pain and symptom management and discussion about advance care planning.
This symposium is intended for primary care and specialty physicians, dietitians, nurses, and allied healthcare practitioners who diagnose and treat patients with life-threatening illnesses.
After completing this symposium, participants will be able to:
- Discuss fundamental palliative care issues with patients who have advanced disease, and with their families
- Utilize useful outpatient community resources for patients with advanced disease
- Develop ways to communicate patient/family values with hospitalists when people are admitted as inpatients
- Recognize the circumstances when consulting the specialty palliative care team is indicated
Statement of need
Quality of care for patients with cancer is a national health priority. The good news is that there is substantial evidence that a variety of supportive care interventions are helpful in improving health-related quality of life. Unfortunately, studies have shown that care of patients with advanced cancer still falls short in a range of areas, including symptom control, psychosocial needs, advance care planning, and end-of-life care. The importance of delivering this care has helped promote the development of palliative care teams. Domains of care for this new specialty include physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs as well as defining goals of care, coping skills, and caregiver support. An understanding of the role of palliative medicine in both primary and specialty care is vital in ensuring that patients with advanced diseases receive the highest level of care available.