Paul C. Edwards

Yes Kirstin, I so agree!

People do tend, naturally, to rely on, and trust, their faith community to guide them when there are uncertainties because of the established long-term relationships, as opposed to folks they have only just met. Some clergy can be of much help and others can really be not so.

I need to also share that I have some relationships with a few community clergy who do “get it” and those have been very helpful as supportive outside resources, especially when we have had difficult family members causing chaos.

We did manage to have another event, at a later date, where we used a town hall-style presentation, featuring myself and the Director of our Palliative Care program. (One of our planning committee members thought it was a great idea, and it was! The clergyman in question, was not at the meeting. He had since moved on to another assignment in another state) It was not the main event, but one agenda item on the program, to identify community needs and assess the ways our medical center can help. The feedback was very positive. Our hospital Foundation funded and chaired the event and has had similar events since.

The other challenge some facilities have, (and I include ours), is that some physicians also are in need of education around Palliative Care and what is not. Our Palliative Care team, despite the universal acceptance by the nursing staff, continue to face resistance among some PCPs and attending physicians, who refuse the service. Not wanting to create additional tensions, our team respectfully does not accept consults unless the patient’s physician is okay with it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard nurses report that the attending physician says, “I’ll take care of it”, and never address the conversation that needs to occur.

Due to some increased community outreach and nursing education with patients and families, we have seen lately a number of patients/families who feel empowered to request a consult themselves, regardless of how their attending physician feels about it.

Does anyone else experience physician-resistance to Palliative Care in your settings or have you had any experience like I’ve described, of some physicians not wanting others to “have the talk” with their patients?