Supportive Care Progress: OSF Saint James

Contributed By:
Carla Hannie, Palliative Care RN – OSF Saint James

In the Beginning

OSF Saint James (Exterior)When OSF HealthCare started looking into developing a supportive care program, the palliative care team at OSF Saint James – John W. Albrecht Medical Center was developed with a core team consisting of a physician, acute care clinical coordinator nurse, hospice nurse, case manager, social worker and pastoral care representatives.

Initially, there were very few consults received for the program. There was not a lot of information available to the public about palliative care or supportive care. Primary care doctors had conflicting beliefs and understandings of palliative care and hospice care.

Overall, the staff needed more education about our palliative care, supportive care and hospice programs.

Where We Are Now

Since that initial period, we have established a core palliative care team consisting of a palliative care physician/hospitalist/attending, palliative care nurse, pastoral care, social worker and dietitian.

This core team now spends time rounding in patient rooms. Team members have more time to spend with patients and their families. With patient issues being more complex than ever, this increased time spent with patients is vital to the continuum of care we provide at the hospital.

The palliative care team also attends a regular interdisciplinary team meeting to help identify patients in the facility that are in need of supportive care and palliative care consultations. This helps to coordinate the level of care provided in all aspects of treatment and recovery.

Community Awareness & Physician Buy-In

Smiling physician having conversationIn addition to changes within the hospital setting, the Pontiac, Illinois community now has increased knowledge of supportive care resources available, including palliative care, through the media, including Internet, articles in newspaper, presentations, etc.

Hospital staff and OSF Medical Group providers are also making a note to provide education to nursing units, physicians, advanced practice providers, both in person and with the help of the employee-only palliative care intranet portal.

One important piece to the physician buy-in puzzle was the addition of our new hospitalist program, which allows the pallative care team to provide coordination, communication, and support to not only patients, but to their primary care doctors as well. The hospitalist and the core team work together with the patient to establish goals, discuss end-of-life issues and care, and work on advance care planning if needed.

The hospitalist makes sure to keep the primary care doctors informed as well of all treatments and clinical updates, including advance care plans, that patients put into place.