What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses, designed to provide relief from related symptoms and pain. At Summa Health System, our palliative care patients are seen at different stages of illness, from active treatment to recovery to non-curative care. Each patient’s care plan is designed holistically—for the whole person and their loved ones—to be as unique as the individual for whom it is created. While the patient is receiving all other appropriate treatments, our palliative care teams focus on easing the suffering from symptoms like pain, nausea, fatigue, breathlessness, depression and anxiety.
Who is in Summa’s Palliative Care Team?
Summa’s Palliative Care teams include:
- Social workers
- Pastoral care professionals
This holistic care model focuses on giving patients relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis—while working to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. Summa's approach to palliative care helps us to effectively address the emotional, social and spiritual issues many patients and families face, and to provide them with the highest quality of life possible before, during and after treatment.
Summa has more board-certified providers in hospice and palliative medicine than anyone in the region.
Our providers see more than 3,000 new palliative care patients every year and provide palliative care in:
- Hospitals, with special focus in emergency rooms, critical care areas, Summa Cancer Institute and medical/surgical areas, as well as specialized inpatient units at Summa Akron City Hospital and Summa Barberton Hospital
- Outpatient facilities, such as the Center for Senior Health
- Patients' homes
- Long term care facilities
Palliative care teams also work closely to support caregivers, who face tremendous challenges caring for their loved ones while trying to balance a work/life schedule that may include many personal and family obligations. Our teams can help caregivers search for community support resources and provide counseling to help ease the burden.
Summa’s Palliative Care Partnerships?
Summa also benefits from a number of external partnerships in palliative care, from local collaborations to international efforts in Pecs, Hungary and Kakamega, Kenya. Summa also partners with the local children’s hospital’s palliative care program to support a pediatric to adult care transition (PACT) program.