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Dairy cows complicate telehealth schedules, but online palliative program proves "udder" success

Ongoing pilot in Eastern Washington to be featured at Institute for Human Caring's Expert Series presentation June 16 

STEVENS COUNTY, Wash., May 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Just as the family telehealth meeting was about to begin on Zoom, word came there was a snag.

A tele-palliative care pilot highlights the promise and limitation of providing personalized healthcare to rural areas. 

"The goals-of-care meeting was scheduled at 1:15, but the spouse is delayed," texted Chaplain Gretchen Luoma Cohan. The spouse is a farmer. As Chaplain Luoma Cohan noted, "Dairy-cow schedules complicate things."

A tele-palliative care (TelePC) pilot Providence launched last year in Eastern Washington highlights the promise ? and limitation ? of providing personalized healthcare to the estimated 46 million Americans living in rural areas.  

"For the first time we're able to offer equitable access to?specialty?palliative?care services for?patients who?need and want them in this rural setting," said Gregg VandeKieft, M.D., MA, FAAFP, FAAHPM, executive medical director of Providence's Palliative Practice Group and TelePC program. "But we often have to balance providing healthcare with the time schedules and welfare of livestock, crops, and other realities of rural living." 

Dr. VandeKieft and colleague Kevin Murphy, M.D., MSW, executive director of Providence's Palliative Practice Group, and Amber Moody, BSN, RN, CHPN, are presenting, "Dairy-cow schedules complicate things: A hybrid telehealth palliative service in rural America," a free, one-hour online session 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT, June 16. Register here

The session will highlight lessons learned from the TelePC program and offer insights for other health systems seeking to address unmet needs of rural America. 

When it comes to providing palliative services for those living with serious illness in rural areas, Providence's TelePC program offers a model for the nation. The benefits include:

"People in our county avoid contact with the medical system until they land in our emergency department," said Joel Glidewell, a registered nurse based in Stevens County, Wash. The TelePC team helps "address their worst fears about the medical system by being approachable and allowing them to have control by aligning care with what they want.

"And it has prevented recurring hospitalizations," Glidewell added. 

@Providence @Human_Caring @vandekieftg @MurphyK_MD #transformhealthcare #wholepersoncare 

About Providence 
Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 51 hospitals, 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 119,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states ? Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. 

The Institute for Human Caring is an innovation and culture-change agent of Providence, dedicated to making caring for whole persons the new normal. We create ways for patients and loved ones to partner with caregivers to achieve highly personalized, world-class care. Visit www.InstituteForHumanCaring.org; contact [email protected] 

SOURCE Institute for Human Caring

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