DANBURY, Conn. -- Danbury Hospital announced the expansion of its palliative care program for outpatients with pulmonary diseases.
Available at the Western Connecticut Medical Group Pulmonary and Sleep Disorders office in Danbury, the service is breaking new ground by making palliative care available early in the process of treating these chronically-ill patients before they require hospitalization.
“Our goal is to help more patients address their physical, emotional and psychological needs from the time of diagnosis until their illnesses reach a final stage,” said Karen Mulvihill, director of palliative care services at Danbury Hospital. “Palliative care can and should be included early. Often done in consultation with families and caretakers, this is part of Danbury Hospital’s commitment to patient-centric care.”
The hospital is the only one in the state to have received advanced certification for palliative care from the state’s independent, non-profit joint commission. Not to be confused with end-of-life hospice care, palliative care helps individuals and families deal with serious illness by treating physical and emotional symptoms and reducing suffering at different stages of the disease.
“In America’s health care system, all too often patients aren’t asked what is important to them, especially when a cure is not an option. We ask patients to articulate their goals and values so that our medical team can put in place a treatment plan based on their wishes,” said Dr. Damanjeet Chaubey, medical director of the palliative care service and chief of hospital medicine at Danbury Hospital. “By expanding our program to pulmonary outpatients, we are able to engage with patients at an early stage – in the physician’s office rather than at the time of hospitalization. This helps to ensure their preferences will be clear if they reach the point where they are unable to make decisions for themselves.”
The new pulmonary outpatient offering builds on the palliative care program Danbury Hospital has had in place since 2004. Until now, the service was only available to inpatients and outpatients visiting the Praxair Cancer Center and select nursing homes.