Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
New Training Program To Help Rural Providers Meet Rising Demand for Palliative Care Services
Gift Helps Fletcher Allen Experts Guide Clinicians in Vermont and New York
BURLINGTON, VT - Fletcher Allen Health Care announced today it has established the Rural Palliative Care Network, a training program for providers at community hospitals seeking the specialized skills they need to deliver comprehensive palliative care to their patients. Creation of the Network was made possible through the generosity of Vermont philanthropists Bob and Holly Miller.
The program expands the role Fletcher Allen's interdisciplinary palliative care team members have played since 2007 as on-call consultants to providers in Vermont and northern New York.
Resources available through the Network include:
- A 24/7 hotline answered by Fletcher Allen physicians and palliative care specialists
- Telemedicine consultations for patients with life-threatening conditions who are being transferred to Fletcher Allen's Medical Intensive Care Unit.
- A mentorship program in which community providers can spend a day or more with Fletcher Allen's palliative care specialists.
- Weekly televised case conferences
- Visits by members of the palliative care team to participating hospitals.
"Increasing the number of clinicians who can provide excellent palliative care is a critical step in improving the quality of health care in our region," said Allan Ramsay, M.D. director of Fletcher Allen's Palliative Care Service. "The Network program will allow us to fully support our colleagues facing the special challenges of delivering this type of care."
"This program is an important resource for our patients because it allows us to provide them with better care and be more thorough in addressing their level of comfort," said William Porter, M.D. of Partners in Palliative and Home Care, a practice based at Porter Hospital in Middlebury. "Fletcher Allen's specialists have always been readily available and supportive, and I find having access to their expertise to be invaluable," he continued.
Dr. Marie-Caroline Piche, Palliative Care Program Director at Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, New York, has turned to the palliative care team for guidance since 2007. "Having the support of a larger program is so beneficial. I have learned a great deal about pain management and communicating with families through my contact with Fletcher Allen's team, and I feel like I can do what I do for my patients because I know they are there,"Piche said.
Palliative care, sometimes referred to as comfort care, focuses on pain control, symptom management, advanced care planning and improving the quality of life for patients undergoing curative treatments and for those receiving end of life care. The number of palliative care teams at hospitals in the U.S. more than doubled in the past decade to meet rising patient demand.
"No matter where you live, you deserve relief, information, and choices about your medical care. That's why it's important that Fletcher Allen's Rural Palliative Care Network extends the expertise of a large academic medical center to doctors, nurses, and hospitals in small towns and rural communities," said Diane E. Meier, M.D. Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, NY and a national leader on the issue.
"I've been watching the palliative care program grow at Fletcher Allen," said Holly Miller. "The idea of the Rural Palliative Care Network really appealed to Bob and me. Nothing could make us happier than knowing that our team at Fletcher Allen is sharing resources with physicians in Vermont and northern New York that will help their patients live as well as they can, as long as they can."
"We are very grateful to the Millers for making this effort possible. The impact of their generosity will be felt by people throughout our region for many years to come," said Ramsay.
For More Information on Palliative Care
Visit www.fletcherallen.org/palliative for details on Fletcher Allen's Palliative Care Service.