Green Hill Inc., a premier senior living community in West Orange, New Jersey announces its new Pain and Palliative Care consultant service, Always Think Comfort, and welcomes Dr. Fran Hoh to the Green Hill team.
Palliative care is interdisciplinary care that focuses on improving quality of life for persons of any age and their families or caregivers, who are living with serious illness. Components of care include medical and nursing care, social work, nutrition, religious or spiritual support, social and cultural sensitivity, ethical and legal consideration, and education regarding care options and navigating the health care system.
Palliative care is provided in hospitals, medical clinics, group practices, cancer centers, home care programs and nursing homes. More than 75% of hospitals in this country have palliative care programs and palliative care training is a component of many nursing and physician educational programs.
“Section 3025 of the Affordable Care Act added section 1886(q) to the Social Security Act, establishing the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. The program requires Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reduce payments to Inpatient Prospective Payment System hospitals with excess readmissions,” CMS.gov. The Act “provides an incentive for hospitals to decrease readmissions by coordinating transitions of care and increasing the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries,” American College of Emergency Physicians. Palliative medicine and palliative care is known to reduce the rate of hospital re-admission for chronically ill or aging persons.
Dr. Hoh holds a PhD in health administration and is an Advanced Practice Nurse. In her previous role, Dr. Hoh was the manager of the acute pain service at Overlook Medical Center. Dr. Hoh has decades of experience in pain and palliative care and provides pharmacologic symptom management, staff education, and meets with families to discuss goals of care and to complete POLST (Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) forms. Dr. Hoh holds national certification as an advanced practice nurse in both pain management, and hospice and palliative care.
“80% of people in assisted living and nursing care can benefit from a discussion about, or implementation of a palliative care plan,” says Dr. Hoh. “It is important to discuss one’s goals for pain and end of life management while one is able.”
The goals of the Pain Management and Palliative Care program at Green Hill are to control difficult to manage symptoms, prevent unplanned hospitalizations, ease the transition to hospice when appropriate, and increase satisfaction and lower stress for patients and families. Dr. Hoh consults with the patient’s physician prior to developing and implementing a palliative care plan. She provides educational programing for nurses and certified nursing aids on caring for patients with serious or chronic illness and end of life care, including symptom management, communicating with families and advocacy in navigating the medical system.
“The patient is the whole family,” says Dr. Hoh. “The patient and their family should decide on a goal to achieve, like being able to participate in a hobby as long as possible or, to live long enough to participate in a certain event. Palliative Care is about having a plan that ensures the best quality of life that we can provide, and to assist the patient and family in meeting that goal.”