palliative care and wellness

Newly inspired by Christian Sinclair’s presentation I am happy I challenged myself to be a blogger at this meeting.

I certainly agree that the title “An unlikely union- Palliative Care and Wellness “seems apt, and quite intriguing. And at a session I attended yesterday the emphasis was on integrating palliative care, and so I was eager to learn how the framework of wellness care might fit.

Cobie Whitten, Becca Hawkins and Gregg VandeKieft did a great job of providing a framework for the discussion reviewing a little about chronic illness care, cancer survivorship, and models for care. The discussion was very lively


The language- there was much talk about the connotations of palliative care and wellness, and the hope that associating the two would further the overall discussion about quality of life. This despite the still difficult connotations of palliative care for some providers.

The need to address the cancer survivor population comprehensively and provide ongoing support- extending way beyond treatment. This likely involves better education of primary care providers about medical issues in follow-up but also other supports. Palliative Care providers can participate in developing this education.Creating a specific post treatment plan for education also seemed a good way to help convey this information to other providers caring for the cancer survivor.

We need to create these models for other populations like dialysis patients with models similar to many cancer centers and for the chronically ill in general. Other sessions here have addressed models for this type of ongoing wellness care.

The importance of rehab and nutrition in wellness, a point I have recently come to recognize in my palliative care practice.

What can I do to use this information? Colleagues at my new place of employment have shared with me their thought about an outpatient wellness center that includes palliative Care, but at present that is only one of those grand ideas. That is a grand 10 year plan. Perhaps sooner I can investigate with my cancer center colleagues and nephrologists wellness follow- up for their patients, and how primary care is involved.

So is this grand ides thought provoking for others – or have you had so many thought provoking new ideas in the last 24 hours that this still seems” unlikely”?

I will try to remain focused on more discussion of this, even with the 50 ideas I will add to my to do list next week.

Diane Dietzen, MD Palliative Medicine Physician, Baystate health, Springfield, MA

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