Hospice of Hilo Launches Hawaii Palliative Care Center

Hospice of Hilo has launched the Hawai‘i Palliative Care Center (HPCC) at the Pōhai Mālama a Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Care Center.

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HPCC will provide a team dedicated to meeting the complex care needs of individuals diagnosed with a life-threatening, and in many cases, a life-limiting illness. This service will partner with patients’ existing physicians and specialists, and alongside current treatments, to help patients and families navigating the healthcare system, address pain and symptoms, and clarify care planning options.

“Health care is complicated and there are many people unnecessarily suffering because they are not receiving the kind of comfort care, pain management, and navigational support they need,” said Hospice of Hilo CEO Brenda S. Ho. “We hope to offer an extra layer of support that will help patients and families find peace in the chaos of their serious illness.”

According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, the program’s goal is to, “improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support [… ] it is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment.”

Hospice of Hilo has recruited Dr. Frances Spector to serve as the Palliative Care Physician of HPCC and Joanne Potts as the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. Dr. Spector brings over 40 years of Palliative Care experience and was previously the Medical Director of Hospice Care at the Kaiser Permanente, Oakland Medical Center.

HPCC includes a physician’s office, a patient exam room, and a reception area. Prior to HPCC, palliative care services were non-existent in the acute and long-term care facilities in the community spanning Laupahoehoe to South Point.

“Since the overall population in the service area is relatively small, the best option to provide this service was to create a partnership between Hospice of Hilo and the East Hawai‘i Region of Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation,” said Ho.

Through this collaboration, the HPCC team will also offer palliative care consultation services and support for patients and their families in both the acute and long term care departments at Hilo Medical Center, Ka‘ū Hospital, Hale Ho‘ola Hāmākua, and Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home.

“Our patients need more support when they are diagnosed with a life-threatening or life-limiting disease,” said East Hawai`i region Hawaii Health Systems Corporation CEO Howard Ainsley. “Many of these patients would benefit greatly from comprehensive pain and symptom management and care coordination as they seek curative treatment. This is why we strongly support Hospice of Hilo’s efforts to create the only Palliative Care Center on the island of Hawai`i.”

More information can be found at http://www.hospiceofhilo.org or by calling (808) 934-2913.

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