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The Success of a Counselor-Based Model of Palliative Care

Leading Medicine Journal Publishes Findings MACON, GA (May 19, 2011) – The Journal of Palliative Medicine, a leading palliative medicine journal in the world, in a recent publication documented the counselor-based model of hospital palliative care at The Center for Palliative Care/Transitions at The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG). The article, “A Novel Approach to Hospital Palliative Care: An Expanded Role for Counselors,” was written by Carol W. Babcock, M.F.T., and Larry E. Robinson, M.Div., D.Min., M.F.T. Palliative medicine is caring for patients and families facing severe chronic disease and those at the end of life. The Center for Palliative Care uses a strong counseling base in providing the palliative service, rather than major reliance on advance practice nurses or palliative physicians. MCCG employs counselors with master’s degrees who spend the hours needed to assist families in making difficult end-of-life decisions; they are the heart of the care team and keep communication flowing. These counselors have developed the Transitions and Palliative Care Therapy Model, which has proved to be a successful means of providing the services. The model includes the ‘‘7 Core Components of Communication and Decision Making,’’ which gives the counselors actual interventions to use in working through these complex cases. The growth of the program over seven years is staggering with the outcomes far exceeding even the predicted volume from the Center to Advance Palliative Care. MCCG has been approached by some national leaders in palliative medicine who want to make a site visit to learn about The Center for Palliative Care’s outcomes. The Center for Palliative Care’s goal is to provide the highest quality of holistic care to those who suffer from life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. Patient-centered and family-focused care that targets quality of life issues, comfort care, and symptom management is provided by an integrated multidisciplinary team with the goal of relieving physical, spiritual, and/or psychosocial suffering.

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