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Volume 9, Number 10Space holderMarch 11, 2005

UWMC, Harborview offer palliative care consultations

University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) has established a service to assist patients and families dealing with advanced terminal illness. The new Palliative Care Consultation Service consists of a team of physicians, chaplains, and ethicists who provide expertise in pain and symptom management, facilitation of difficult conversations, and the coordination of care.

Consultations are available to clinicians caring for patients whose symptoms are difficult to manage and compromise continuation of treatment; patients who no longer respond to treatment; patients who are repeatedly admitted to hospitals for advanced illness; and patients who are likely to die within a year. The service also benefits patients who have not documented their wishes and treatment preferences if their condition worsens, those in multi-system organ failure, those considering hospice care, and those experiencing spiritual distress or loss of hope.

Stuart Farber, associate professor of family medicine, leads the UWMC Palliative Care Consultation Service team.

Harborview Medical Center also has a Palliative Care Service that offers comfort and support to dying patients and their families. A team of specialists work with primary care providers to help manage pain and other distress associated with terminal illness.

Harborview's Palliative Care Service is led by Darrell Owens, palliative care specialist. Also on the team is Wayne McCormick, associate professor and section chief of the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

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