Providence Health & Services officials announced one of the nation’s leading experts in palliative care and advocate for transforming care through the end of life is set to join the health system in the new Institute for Human Caring.
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Ira Byock, M.D., will serve as chief medical officer of the institute, which will further Providence’s longstanding commitment to providing “whole person” care. The institute’s focus goes beyond the medical aspects of illness to encompass the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Providence, the third largest not-for-profit health system in the country, is widely
recognized for its premier hospice and palliative care programs across the West Coast.
“As a sought-after expert in palliative care, Dr. Byock could work anywhere in the country. We are very excited that he has chosen to join Providence,” said Rod Hochman, M.D., president and CEO of Providence Health & Services. “We believe he is the perfect fit for Providence and our deep commitment to caring for the whole person. His leadership and expertise will enable us to take that commitment to the next level.”
The institute will offer resources, training and support to help clinicians have more open and meaningful conversations with patients and their families about their plans and preferences for care through the end of life. Based at Providence TrinityCare in Southern California, the institute’s programs will support clinicians, patients and families in communities across the Providence system.
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Dr. Byock brings a distinguished record of experience and expertise in the field of palliative care. He previously served as director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and chair ofpalliative medicine at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. He is the author of influential books aimed at guiding and empowering people.
“Providence lives its values every day and genuinely delivers on its commitment to patient-centered, family care,” said Dr. Byock. “I was attracted to this role because of Providence’s core values, mission, vision, reputation for quality, geographic impact, and quite frankly, gumption – all of which are vital elements to leading a national revolution around whole person care.”atients and families, including The Four Things That Matter Most,Dying Well and The Best Care Possible.
Through his leadership of the institute, Dr. Byock aims to challenge the persistent crisis in how to care for Americans in the last phase of life. Studies show most Americans would like to spend their final days at home, surrounded by those they love. Yet about 70 percent spend their last days in hospitals or nursing homes.
The Institute for Human Caring will implement bold solutions and insights that have been developed in the best health care programs and forward-thinking communities around the country. It also will engage communities it serves to learn from them and with them about how to optimally care for, support and promote well-being for individuals and families through illness, dying, caregiving and grief. The common, vital ingredient is individualized communication and planning tailored to each patient’s personal needs, values, preferences and priorities.
“We know that when clinicians understand people’s underlying desires and concerns they can work more effectively with patients and their families to develop treatment plans that best meet their needs,” said Dr. Byock. “It’s already part of Providence’s DNA to see each patient as a unique individual and a whole person. Our new institute will take that commitment even further.”
The development of the institute is made possible by support from the TrinityCare Foundation. Additional information on Dr. Byock can be found at www.irabyock.org.
About Providence Health & Services
Providence Health & Services is a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves – especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. Providence’s services include 34 hospitals, 475 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services. The health system and its affiliates employ more than 73,000 people across five states – Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington – with its system office located in Renton, Washington. In 2013, Providence provided more than $951 million in community benefit, including $313 million in free and discounted care for those who could not afford to pay for care. Providence Health & Services continues a tradition of caring that the Sisters of Providence began more than 158 years ago.
Source: Santa Clarita News