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Published on December 23, 2013

Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute Earns Innovator Award

The Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute was awarded an Innovator Award by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) for its integration of palliative care in both the inpatient and outpatient care setting in 2012. The presentation was made during the ACCC’s annual conference in Boston.

ACCC is a nonprofit organization that assists oncology professionals to adapt to the changes of delivering quality cancer care while responding to regulatory and legislative changes.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stresses of a serious illness—regardless the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and ACCC made integration of palliative care into oncology practice a priority, and access to palliative care in both the inpatient and outpatient care setting is integral to optimizing patient care.

“The evidence is clear; patients who receive supportive care have an overall better experience during their illness, better symptom control and less pain. But one of the main differences we’ve seen is that some patients actually live longer and with a better quality of life,” said Brian Bell, M.D., Medical Director of the Palliative Care and Supportive Care Clinic at Gibbs.

With the introduction of palliative care and the Supportive Care Clinic at Gibbs, a nurse practitioner from the medical oncology practice and a registered nurse from the palliative care team collaborate to coordinate the weekly clinic with oversight from the palliative care medical director. The success of the program is being measured in terms of a patient-centered outcome with increased patient satisfaction, reduced distress symptoms and increased supportive care clinic visits.

“The Supportive Care Clinic actually fulfills multiple roles through this initiative. The patient is provided with an extra layer of support as they go through their treatment and transition into survivorship. This service provides more time for the physician to concentrate specifically on oncology treatment,” Dr. Bell said. 

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