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The mission of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship is to train leaders and academicians in the care of those with potentially life-limiting illness.
Palliative medicine is medical care focused on providing comfort for the seriously ill through the relief of symptoms and stress. This type of medical care is useful at any stage of illness, and can be provided along with curative treatments. Palliative care work is dedicated to a strong belief that individuals should live well and attain the highest quality of life, regardless of the nature or severity of their illness or the need for other therapies.
Palliative medicine integrates the emotional and spiritual well-being of the patient and family into the management of pain and other physical symptoms of illness.
The Palliative Medicine team guides patients and families who are making decisions while working toward their goals throughout their course of illness. The team collaborates with professional and informal caregivers in various settings to ensure coordination, communication and continuity of care across institutional and home care settings with the goal of providing seamless care.
Learn More about the Fellowship
Several faculty members from the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship have published noteworthy articles.
- Susan Glod’s A Piece of My Mind article
- Susan Glod’s Subjective‐Objective‐Assessment‐Plan–Value model of medical education
- Margaret Kreher’s Medical Clinics chapter on Symptom Control at the End of Life
- Scott Shreve’s article on Concurrent Care for Veterans with Cancer at the End of Life
- Amy Westcott’s Medical Clinics chapter on Artificial Nutrition and Hydration at the End of Life
- Drs. David Wenner and Amy Westcott’s WITF interviews on Finding Peace
The Department of Medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was approved by the ACGME in 2015 for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. The one-year comprehensive clinical training program is based at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, with away rotations at Lebanon VA Medical Center, Hospice of Central Pennsylvania and Spring Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation.
In addition to a complete schedule of clinical conferences and journal clubs to supplement the patient care activities of the Palliative Care Service, the program has a special interprofessional peer-driven curriculum that includes nursing and chaplaincy. One trainee is accepted each year into the program.
The clinical expertise of the interprofessional faculty includes all components of comprehensive care of patients/families living with life-limiting illness to ensure a whole-patient perspective.
The academic mission of the Palliative Center of Excellence embraces scholarship in both clinical and educational domains. Each fellow has the opportunity to participate in system-wide quality improvement efforts as well as various teaching activities.
- Fellows will provide enhanced care coordination by explicit navigation assistance for palliative patients as they leave the hospital and engaging in best communication practices with the interprofessional team from Hospice of Central Pennsylvania.
- Fellows will have interprofessional learning by making joint care visits with interdisciplinary team members, including visits to patient homes, nursing homes and residential homes.
- Fellows will be participating members of the Inpatient Palliative Care Consult Team for six months.
- Fellows will facilitate care coordination through explicit navigation assistance and follow-up for palliative care patients as they transition into the Outpatient Continuity Clinic in the Cancer Institute.
- Fellows will participate in “Fellow as Teacher” with assigned curriculum development and implementation based on a needs assessment of an interprofessional team within our health system or community.
- Fellows will have an interprofessional peer learning group complete with a semi-structured interprofessional education curriculum.
Hospice and Palliative Home Care
Fellows will gain extensive experience managing hospice and palliative patients through time spent with Hospice of Central Pennsylvania. Fellows will participate in a minimum of 25 home visits, and actively participate in the interdisciplinary team meetings. Fellows will also spend a minimum of two weeks at the Carolyn’s House residential hospice house.
Inpatient Palliative Care Consultation Service
Fellows will spend a minimum of four months with the interprofessional inpatient consultation teams.
Fellows will maintain their own half-day outpatient clinic practice under the supervision of the palliative care faculty. Fellows will follow new patients longitudinally in the ambulatory setting as well as across settings if the patients are admitted to the hospital, a long-term care facility and/or hospice.
Fellows will learn how to provide palliative care for frail older adults residing in long-term care during dedicated time at HMC-affiliated communities.
Pediatric Palliative Medicine Rotation
Fellows will spend two weeks with the Hummingbird Program at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Electives include ALS, surgical oncology, pain control and physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Projects will leverage the agenda of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Chief of Patient Safety/Quality, focused on transitions of care, interprofessional education and/or the patient/family experience.
Milestones will include:
- Abstract submission to a national conference
- Manuscripts submitted for publication
Fellows will be paired with faculty mentors who will guide in the acquisition of competence in the clinical, teaching, research and advocacy skills pertinent to the discipline, serve as a clinical supervisor in an inpatient or outpatient setting, develop curricula, and/or participation in didactic activities.
Fellows will participate in semi-structured peer-mentoring with an interprofessional peer group.
Below is an example of the interprofessional education curriculum from a previous program year. While sessions vary from year to year, this sample curriculum is intended to show the types of experiences in which Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellows might participate during a yearlong interprofessional education experience.
This program was “Navigating Palliative Transitions: Building Community Partnerships.”
Train interprofessionally versed potential future leaders in the care of those with potentially life-limiting illness.
Clinical Component: Hummingbird Palliative Care Program
- Two-week intensive clinical experience under the leadership of Dr. Michelle Freeman in early June
- Promote interprofessional learning by including trainees in joint care visits with interdisciplinary team members
In-Person Workshop Curriculum
These four-hour workshops are held monthly.
Online Reflection Curriculum
Monthly online reflection assignments are done under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Kitko.
Journal Club/Challenging Case Conference
These are held once a month as part of the regular Palliative Care Team meetings.