UW Health Palliative Care Program Wins National Honor

The UW Health Palliative Care program won national honors for its work in helping patients and their families make better decisions at the end of life.


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The program won a 2017 Citation of Honor from the Circle of Life Award, which is sponsored by the American Hospital Association (AHA). The group cited UW Health for its innovative work in communication and skills training, including employing professional actors to interact with health care practitioners, an Empathy card game developed by palliative care fellows and the Best Case Worse Case communication tool that helps health care professionals explain possible outcomes to patients and families so they can make better decisions about their own health care.


The UW palliative care program maintains two adult teams, one pediatric team, two nurse communicators in the intensive care unit and an ambulatory palliative care program. The pediatric team extends its reach throughout Wisconsin in its role as the state's premier academic hospital.


Campbell’s group also trains residents and fellows from around the country in its PalliTALK program. WeTALK – a theater-based workshop that teaches clinicians to recognize opportunities for empathy and communication with patients and families – has trained more than 1,000 UW Health providers.


“We have really tried to bring about a culture change organization-wide,’’ said Dr. Toby Campbell, director of palliative care and the Ellen and Peter O. Johnson Chair in Palliative Care in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Campbell is also a lung cancer oncologist with the UW Carbone Cancer Center.


UW Health was one of three health systems to win citations of honor; the top awards went to Bluegrass Care Navigators of Lexington, Kentucky, and Providence Trinity Care Hospice of Torrance, California. The AHA is planning to come to Madison in the fall to present the award to the entire UW palliative care team.

Date Published: 08/02/2017

News tag(s):  cancer

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