Providing outpatient palliative care through the establishment of a supportive care clinic for cancer patients is one of the newest innovations at VCU Massey Cancer Center. The primary oncologist may refer patients to the clinic for complex symptom management. The clinic also bolsters the continuity of care for ambulatory patients who are discharged from the Thomas Palliative Care Unit or who were seen by the palliative consult staff when admitted in the hospital.
The supportive care clinic is led by board-certified palliative care physicians. Team members also include a palliative-trained registered nurse, a chaplain, physical and occupational therapists and a specialized psychologist. Team members work together to assess a patient’s physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs. Other services such as wound management and speech therapy are consulted as needed.
After assessing the patient, members of the interdisciplinary team collaborate with each other to identify appropriate interventions based on the patients’ and families’ individual needs. In the outpatient setting, as in all venues for palliative care, patients are treated with a holistic approach that includes assisting the patient and family with all aspects of coping with life-threatening illness as well as with establishing patient-driven goals of care.
The clinic is open to Massey cancer patients on Wednesday afternoons and all day on Friday in Massey’s Lower Dalton Oncology Clinic in North Hospital on the MCV campus. For appointments, phone (804) 828-7999.