What is Hospice and Palliative Medicine?
Palliative medicine is a form of specialized medical care for patients with serious, life-limiting illnesses (cancer, CHF, COPD, ALS, Alzheimer’s dementia, and others). It focuses on improving a patient’s quality of life by managing distressing symptoms such as pain, dyspnea, anxiety, and others. Palliative medicine also helps to align a patient’s treatment goals with what is most important to them while supporting them during the stress of a life-limiting illness.
Hospice is a specialized form of palliative medicine that is provided in the last six months of life. Hospice can be provided in a patient’s home or in other facilities such as skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, and hospice facilities.
Recognizing the need and importance of a palliative medicine consult service, the UPMC Altoona Palliative Medicine Consult Service was created in October 2010 and has rapidly grown from 44 consults that first year to nearly 1,000 consults per year currently.
The UPMC Altoona Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship started in 2013. We are a dually-accredited (ACGME and AOA) program within the core family medicine program. Our fellowship is the sole fellowship at UPMC Altoona. The program offers a variety of clinical rotations with an innovative and comprehensive curriculum. Fellows see a wide array of patients with various diagnoses that prepare them for a career in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Fellows are eligible to obtain board certification in hospice and palliative medicine following completion of their training program.