Doctor’s office provides palliative care for pulmonary patients

A Connecticut hospital has expanded its palliative care program so that it now offers care for patients with advanced chronic pulmonary diseases in the doctor’s office.

By expanding its program, Danbury Hospital is now making palliative care available through the Western Connecticut Medical Group in Danbury, where physicians and other members of the healthcare team are caring for patients with advanced lung diseases, according to a hospital announcement.

“I think this is unique. This is a very important step,” Damanjeet Chaubey, M.D., medical director of the palliative care service and chief of hospital medicine at Danbury Hospital, said in an interview with FiercePracticeManagement. By offering palliative care in the doctor’s office, physicians who are skilled at managing symptoms of chronic diseases are able to help patients understand their illness and cope with problems such as shortness of breath, loss of appetite or pain, she said.

Most important, doctors listen to the patients. “It’s shared decision-making. We are figuring out what’s important to patients and their families, their goals of care and then aligning treatment to their personal specific needs,” Chaubey said. The focus is on improving the quality of life, she said. By making palliative care available to chronically-ill patients with diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mesothelioma and lung cancer early in the treatment process, the program hopes to keep people out of the hospital.

Palliative care could be expanded in the future to cover even more patients with other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, advanced dementia, and end-stage kidney or liver disease, she said.

- read the announcement