By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda L. Kilpatrick Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs Office
San Diego- Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) held the first palliative care symposium Oct. 14 here, attended by 216 physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains and hospital corpsmen.
"The goal is to provide an educational venue for people who take care of different populations of patients going through different phases of their lives," said Cmdr. (Dr.) Grainger S. Lanneau, gynecology-oncology department head.
Palliative care is a specialized area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients. "Palliate comes from the Latin word which means cloak or protect," said Lanneau. "Our care is there to help address patient's symptoms so that they can continue to do whatever is important in their lives."
NMCSD staff members learned about communicating with patients and families in crisis, ethical boundaries, grief and loss for health care professionals, non-opioid pain management, opioid pain management and heart failure during the symposium.
"It's a great way to use the talent that we have here at NMCSD, along with expertise from the San Diego area to help educate people about this important care," said Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Carlin Callaway, Inpatient Nurse, Division Officer Medical/Surgical Ward 5 East.
Speakers from NMCSD and the San Diego Hospice provided current evidence and reviews during the symposium to provide staff with resources to help patients and their families.
"It helps our staff by providing a platform to network (with each other and the community) as well as arming them with new consensus data," said Lanneau. "This leads to optimum patient care."
NMCSD patients will ultimately benefit from the educational awareness given at the symposium.
"I think palliative care helps you feel secure," said patient Shelley Babauta who has been receiving palliative care since June for ovarian cancer. "It's a very scary disease and any support is good. Everyone at NMCSD is very supportive and helpful. It's been a team effort."
NMCSD is planning to hold the palliative care symposium next year to continue educating San Diego on the importance of life-limiting care. "We are all hopeful that we can raise the level of care for our patients and hopeful that our patients will recognize our dedication to them," said Lanneau.
For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/sd