Expert on Palliative Care to Be Honored

November 10, 2009

Timothy Quill, M.D.

A Rochester physician is being honored by the leading national organization in palliative care and has been elected to a leadership post within the organization.

Timothy E. Quill, M.D., director of the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Palliative Care at the University of Rochester Medical Center, will receive the Palliative Medicine Community Leadership Award at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in Boston in March. The award recognizes a physician who has advanced palliative care through the education of future physicians. In addition, Quill was recently elected treasurer of the organization.

Palliative care provides medical treatment and comfort-oriented care during all stages of serious illness; the focus is on alleviating suffering and relieving symptoms of the disease at the same time that patients receive all indicated medical treatments. Quill has worked to increase the availability of palliative care to all seriously ill patients, not just those who are facing the end of life, and has helped train a generation of physicians in medical schools across the country about how to work effectively with such patients.

Under his leadership, URMC’s Palliative Care Program has grown dramatically and now provides outpatient and in-home consultations as well as hospital-based care. Last year, the program provided more than 900 inpatient consultations and more than 200 outpatient and home consultations.

URMC and its community affiliates have more than 20 board-certified specialists in palliative care. The team includes clinicians from a wide range of disciplines, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, researchers, medical residents, social workers, chaplains, a music practitioner, massage therapists, and a bereavement coordinator.

Earlier this year Strong Memorial Hospital opened the region’s only inpatient palliative care unit, the Albert and Phyllis Sussman Palliative Care Unit, on a newly renovated section of the hospital’s fourth floor. The unit offers 12 private rooms with family-friendly amenities and medical care offering the best quality of life for patients and their families at the same time they receive the best possible disease management.

Quill, who is professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Medical Humanities, has received several awards for his work. In 2005 the palliative care team received the American Health Association’s Circle of Life Citation of Honor, in recognition of its community-wide palliative care and end-of-life initiatives.

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