Women and Infants Hospital has a new service for patients with serious illness, to help them avoid a stay in the hospital. It's another sign that hospitals are increasingly turning to outpatient services to help patients – and save money.
For the first time ever, the hospital is offering palliative care right in the cancer clinic. Kate Lally, MD runs the hospital’s palliative care program.
“Palliative care is symptom-focused care for people with serious illness, no matter their diagnosis, no matter their prognosis," says Lally. "The main goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family.”
Previously, patients with serious illness, like late-stage cancer, would see an oncologist. And hospitalized patients could see a palliative care specialist separately. But Lally says the new model will save patients a trip to a separate department and offer an alternative to home care. It may also keep people out of the hospital if their symptoms can be managed with regular visits.