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Supporting the Elder Population with Palliative Medicine

January 24, 2017
Palliative Medicine in the Greater Baltimore Medical Center was established in 2007 and continues its mission of providing symptom management; facilitating and offering counseling about goals of care discussions; and providing support for patients with chronic, serious, incurable, and life-limiting medical illnesses.

The program, currently led by Marian Alessandroni, MD, provides its services for patients hospitalized in GBMC and in six residential community care centers in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Howard County. In addition, the program serves patients who would benefit from consultation in outpatient clinic in two locations on the GBMC grounds: Gilchrist Counseling and Support at 6701 N. Charles Street, Suite 4106; and the Sandra and Malcom Berman Cancer Institute, 6569 N. Charles Street, Suite 201.

While Palliative Medicine services are beneficial to patients with cancer at all stages of their illnesses, recently an initiative was undertaken to specifically serve patients with advanced and metastatic cancer, as well as those diagnosed with cancer at age of 85 and older. The goal is to maximize the support these patients need and focus on maintaining and/or improving their quality of life as they undergo cancer treatment.

In an effort to continue to integrate with the cancer center, Palliative Medicine works closely with Oncology Support Services in the Sandra and Malcom Berman Cancer Institute in order to explore the psychosocial needs of patients with cancer and to maximize psychosocial support as patients navigate their journey from diagnosis through treatment and onto the advanced stages of cancer.

Philip Shaheen, MD
Outpatient consultation with a Palliative Medicine specialist is provided by Philip Shaheen, MD, and Marian Alessandroni, MD, both Board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Referrals to the Palliative Medicine Clinic have increased year after year, and the Clinic strives to meet the ever-growing needs of the GBMC oncology patient population as well as those with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. During fiscal year 2017, the Clinic handled 71 new outpatient referrals, with a total of 387 visits during the same time period.

Palliative Medicine continues to develop and enhance policies and procedures for providing services and referrals, and for managing acutely ill patients with terminal diagnoses. Palliative Medicine is proactive in assisting GBMC in providing comfort care for actively dying patients. Its mission, scope of services, and collaborations are overseen by the Advanced Care Management Committee chaired by Harold Tucker, MD.
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