Palliative care offers patients comfort through control of pain and other physical symptoms, along with relief of psychological, social and spiritual distress. Palliative care also helps family members, who often suffer a heavy emotional and financial toll when a patient has cancer.
Palliative care helps patients live better, and it may help them live longer. With aggressive pain control, appetite increases. With the right social support, mood improves. All of this can enhance a patient's quality of life. It can also mean fewer missed days of work and less stress for family caretakers.
National leader in palliative care
UC Davis Medical Center is among a select number of health care facilities to have been honored with a Circle of Life Award. The award celebrates programs that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care. The awards are supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., and are sponsored by the American Hospital Association, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the American Medical Association, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
West Coast Center for Palliative Care Education and Research
The West Coast Center for Palliative Care Education and Research was established as a program of the UC Davis School of Medicine in 1994. The West Coast Center was among the first programs in the United States to conduct research and train health-care providers in palliative care. Fred Meyers, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center, is the center's founding director.
The West Coast Center for Palliative Care Education and Research is perhaps best known for pioneering "simultaneous care." Traditionally, cancer patients who have exhausted standard therapies have faced a choice. They could enroll in a clinical trial of an investigational agent that might extend life, or they could enter hospice. Simultaneous care spares patients this difficult choice. It allows patients with advanced cancer to receive both an investigational treatment and palliative care. This progressive model of care is becoming the standard throughout the United States.