NEWS | March 18, 2016

MacMillan featured in KVIE documentary on palliative and hospice care


Jack MacMillan, clinical professor of internal medicine and palliative care physician at UC Davis, is featured in the next episode of ViewFinder, a locally produced documentary series that airs on Sacramento’s public television station: KVIE-Channel 6.

Palliative care physician Jack MacMillan participated in a expert panel following a preview screening of Palliative care physician Jack MacMillan participated in a expert panel following a preview screening of "The Journey Ahead." Photo by Alex Sommerfeldt.

Called “The Journey Ahead,” the program addresses the decisions involved when chronic or terminal disease strikes and how providers shape their approaches to patient care during those times.

MacMillan was also part of an expert panel following a preview screening of the program on March 14, where community members had opportunities to ask questions about the topic, including the differences between palliative and hospice care.

Palliative care, MacMillan explained, improves the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing life-threatening illness. The focus is on preventing and relieving suffering through early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other problems — physical, psychosocial and spiritual. By improving the understanding of treatment options and matching personal needs with those options, palliative care helps patients have more control over their care. Hospice care focuses on quality of life and pain control when disease progresses to the point where cures are no longer possible.

With both approaches, the wishes of the patient are front and center.

“There has been a huge shift in health care in the last 10 years,” MacMillan said. “Physicians used to focus on the interventions themselves. We now take a step back and focus instead on the goals and values of the patient.”

Also included in the documentary is Richard Schenk, a cancer patient of MacMillan’s currently receiving hospice care. Physician Jann Murray-García, an assistant adjunct professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis and researcher on race and health, addresses cultural considerations related to illness and death that should be integrated into patient care.

“The Journey Ahead” will be broadcast on Wednesday, March 23, at 7 p.m., with an encore presentation Sunday, March 27, at 6 p.m. More information, including opportunities to purchase a copy on DVD, is at