Sick To Death > Chapter 3 > Case Study: Project Safe Conduct (Circle of Life award winner)

Sick To Death book cover This extract from the online edition of Sick to Death and Not Going to Take It Anymore! is used with permission.

Case Study: Project Safe Conduct (Circle of Life award winner)

Begun as a demonstration project in palliative care, Project Safe Conduct is a collaborative venture between Hospice of the Western Reserve, a large community-based hospice, and Ireland Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center at University Hospitals of Cleveland. The innovation of this venture lies in having an external palliative-care team from a hospice housed within a cancer center and integrated into its system of care.

The interdisciplinary team includes a nurse with advanced training, a social worker, and a spiritual-care counselor. It works with the oncology team at the Ireland Cancer Center and has access to pain specialists and psychologists for consultation. The team introduced a pain-care pathway and guidelines for pain management, as well as a flow sheet for tracking pain assessment and management. To increase continuity of care, the program has a team member present at every clinic appointment for each patient and makes a patient consultation hotline available during weekday business hours.

The Safe Conduct team advocates for patients regarding their care, with a particular focus on helping them recognize moments that might be key decision points. In order to ensure that patients get the most appropriate care at the right time, the team holds family conferences early in the disease trajectory. Communication is part of every phase of care; team members work with patients and families to make sure that they understand the implications of test results and that the physician understands their concerns.

After the demonstration project's funding ended, Ireland Cancer Center integrated the team into standard practice.

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Innovations in End-of-Life Care. 2002. Executive summary of 2002 Circle of Life award winner. June. Adapted with permission from Innovations in End-of-Life Care online magazine, Education Development Center, Inc.

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