Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RCPI) has a strong, dedicated, and experienced team within its Supportive & Palliative Care Program. Most recently, the team received Advanced Certification in Palliative Care for a two-year period from The Joint Commission, an organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
Palliative Care provides care for individuals with progressive illnesses, helping patients experience relief from symptoms such as pain and the stresses that come with a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family as well as to work with the other doctors each patient has, providing an extra layer of support. At RPCI, the Supportive & Palliative Care team works with the attending physician and can join the care process at any time, including during curative treatment.
Led by Yashodhara Satchidanand, MD, and Amy Alvarez, MD, the certification makes RPCI the nation’s only dedicated cancer center. It is now also 1 of 15 national hospitals to receive advanced certification to date. “Our team was very excited about receiving the certification. This validates our work and acknowledges that RPCI is known not only for cutting-edge research, but also for compassionate care,” said Dr. Satchidanand, a staff physician and Assistant Professor with the program.
To receive this certification from The Joint Commission, palliative care programs must meet patient-oriented eligibility requirements. The care program must be provided within an accredited hospital, offering a full range of palliative care services to hospitalized patients 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The palliative care team must be easy to contact, readily available to come to the hospital to address patient and family needs when necessary, and must be able to constantly provide the same level of palliative care services around the clock, not just during business hours. Amongst having a minimum number of patients during an initial on-site review, programs must also administer a standardized method of clinical care based on clinical practice guidelines and/or evidence-based practice. To read about more of the eligibility requirements, click here.
“This certification allows us to enhance and help change the perception of palliative care as more than end-of-life care,” notes Dr. Alvarez, a physician with the Department of Supportive & Palliative Care. “It is care for the continuum of the cancer journey, focusing on the goals of the patients and their families.”
Palliative care is appropriate at any age, at any stage in a serious illness and is designed to meet the patient and family’s psychological, emotional, and physical curative needs.