July 24, 2017 |
Parklandís Palliative Care Program Aims to Empower Those with Serious Disease
January 10, 2017  | 

“One of the most important things we do is give patients more control over their care by helping them understand their treatment choices,” said Dr. Paulk “We don’t just provide pain management. We meet the patient where they are, psychologically as well as physically, and work with their medical specialists like oncologists or cardiologists, to help the patient live as well as possible and to help them make good choices about their care.”

In fiscal year 2016, Parkland’s program at had 3,324 patient encounters in outpatient and inpatient units at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The Palliative Care Clinic operates five half-days weekly and inpatient consult services are available by phone 24/7.

Working in one of the nation’s largest safety net hospitals, Dr. Paulk and her team assist patients ranging from age 18 to over 100 and of many ethnicities.

Approximately one-third of patients are Hispanic, one-third are African-American and the remainder are of Caucasian, Asian or other backgrounds. Most have been diagnosed with cancer, heart failure, COPD, renal or liver disease. The team arranges for hospice care when needed, and stays in touch with patients and family members during final stages of illness. Parkland also offers a bereavement program and grief support groups in English and Spanish for family members.

“One of the things I am most proud of is that we provide very culturally sensitive care,” Dr. Paulk said. She and most members of the team speak Spanish. Online interpreters are also available as needed for the many languages encountered among Parkland patients. Continue>

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