QUEST team establishing palliative care program

Quality of life with a chronic illness or disease. It seems a daunting domain in one of SAMC’s new quality 9628QuestPalliativeCare310x153 initiatives, but team leader Melissa Lewis, RN, MSN, said it’s all about improving the care we provide, even at the end of life.

Lewis said this QUEST domain deals with patients suffering serious illnesses like cancer and heart failure.

“The question is what is preventable and if we can’t prevent death, how can we give quality of life in the time left?”  she said.

Lewis said the mortality initiative has  
three components, two of which are ongoing at SAMC and a third is in the start-up phase.

SAMC has found success with its early sepsis awareness and identification program to address one of the fastest-growing causes of death in the hospital setting. Also, our Certified Chest Pain Center established cardiac protocols and allows anyone to call the Rapid Response Team to the bedside.

“We are focusing primarily on establishing a palliative care program. Palliative care is not hospice. Palliative care establishes goals with the seriously ill patient and their families,” she said. “We talk about where they want to be.”

There is a core palliative care team which includes a board-certified physician, an RN, social worker and chaplain. Additional interdisciplinary team members such as a psychiatrist, can be called in.

The team’s focus is to provide the patient with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of their illness. Palliative care helps patients better understand their conditions and their medical care choices.

In the photo above, members of the palliative care team are from left, Marian Harrison, RN, Case Management, Teresa Kohnhorst, director Quality Resource Management, Melissa Lewis, RN, director Oncology unit, Scott Griffin, director Southeast Cancer Care Network, Tracy Glass, RN, director CCU and Kristy Johnson, DO, hospitalist. Other  team members are Charles Harkness, DO, VP Medical Affairs, Chief Medical Officer; Diane Buntyn, RN, VP, Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer; Kathy Hill, division director, Finance; Tena Knight, RN, clinical nurse specialist, CCU; Lara McCall, RN, director Case Management; Addie McKinzie, director Operations Auditing, Revenue Assurance;  Ann Spradley, RN, clinical nurse specialist, Orthopedics; and Donna Yost, RN, clinical educator, Oncology.