Quality of Life: Inside MPTF’S Palliative Care Program

Living with a serious illness, or standing by while a loved one suffers with theirs, can be one of life’s greatest challenges. That’s where MPTF’s Palliative Care Program comes in. Palliative Care is a recognized medical specialty for the care and support of persons with serious, chronic and life-threatening conditions. It can be provided at any stage in an illness and aims to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.

As opposed to hospice care, which comes at the end of life, palliative care can come into play at any stage of an illness, with a team of specially trained physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other professionals offering care, comfort, and support to patients and their families. The focus is the whole person, not just the diagnosis. Efforts are toward enhancing quality of life by managing pain and stress as well as helping patients face the risks and burdens of their illness and treatment choices.

The national palliative care guidelines, still relatively new in the medical community, were adopted at MPTF in 2004. Since then MPTF has remained at the forefront of America’s palliative care initiative. Legislation currently being drafted in Washington D.C. acknowledges the importance of palliative care for those with serious illness and is bipartisan supported. MPTF has signed its name alongside organizations like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association on many letters sent to Congressional representatives and committee members of Health and Human Services to advance the field of palliative care on the national level.

Since 2004, our Palliative Care Program has been involved  with CAPC (the Center to Advance Palliative Care), a national resource for palliative care providers, developers, and innovators. Diane E. Meier, MD, Director of CAPC, applauded MPTF for its “delightful program with excellent commitment of clinical staff; well-known and loved in California” and noted, “I am personally a great admirer of your organization’s work over all the years.”

The program has been honored with the California Hospital Association’s “Best Practices Award”, Aging Services of California’s “Quality First” award, and a commendation from The National Consensus Project for “Quality Palliative Care Leadership”. MPTF assisted the California Healthcare Foundation in developing the “Field Guide to Palliative Care”. At the CAPC annual conference, we teach other organizations how to create and sustain palliative care services in the long-term care setting.

MPTF’s Palliative Care program has served thousands of Industry members over the years. Over 70% of our patients live in the community, and the rest live on our Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills. We see patients in designated skilled nursing facilities, in their homes on the Wasserman campus and, in collaboration with UCLA, in the outpatient clinic setting. The MPTF palliative care nurse practitioner, chaplain and social worker are available for virtual visits via the phone. When needed, we help Industry members find quality palliative care closer to where they live. Our goals:

  1. Patients have relief from pain and other symptoms and are fully supported in their healthcare decisions.
  2. Patients have relief from pain and other symptoms and are fully supported in their healthcare decisions.2. Families are supported as they care for, and about, their seriously ill loved one.
  3. Caregivers are assisted in coping with the strain of caring for a seriously ill person.

Anyone grappling with a life-changing illness deserves palliative care. For more information about our Palliative Care Program, call 818-876-1739.

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