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Health Care Kent County News

Bayhealth grows palliative care offices

Katie Tabeling

Bayhealth has now expanded its palliative care in its Kent Campus, moving its office and adding more employees to meet a growing patient need.| PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

DOVER — As palliative care becomes more recognized on a national scale, Bayhealth has expanded its outpatient palliative services and moved into a new office.

Bayhealth has hired two new employees for its Palliative Care Center, growing the team to five overall. The central Delaware health care system had also moved its office to a suite on 530 S. State St., vacating an office it was leasing on Wolf Creek Boulevard.

“We know palliative care is fulfilling an important need in our community for those suffering from serious illnesses … [and] we’re pleased to offer even more services with our Bayhealth Palliative Care practice and new location,” Bayhealth Medical Group Physician Services Vice President Dina Perry said in a statement.

“Our skilled and empathetic providers are here and available to help individuals live better and more comfortably despite the complexities of their condition, and to help families and caregivers in best supporting them,” she added.

Palliative care generally focuses on caregiving to mitigate suffering for patients that deal with complex illnesses, including cancer, congestive heart failure, COPD and more. Bayhealth first launched an inpatient palliative program in 2016 at the Kent Campus. 

But as Bayhealth has turned its attention to Delaware’s southern region, it offered an inpatient program at the former Milford Memorial Hospital. The program has continued at the Sussex Campus.

In June 2020, Bayhealth announced it was expanding to include an outpatient palliative program in Dover. That gave patients access to half-day clinics throughout the week on a referral basis. Bayhealth officials cited a “lack of resources” for palliative care in Kent County and hoped to fill the need.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, palliative care has become more visible as people worked to take care of their ill loved ones. A survey of 200 palliative care providers conducted by the Center to Advance Palliative Care reported that the consult volume increased by 64% as of January 2021.

More than half of the survey respondents reported no negative effects on their program due to the pandemic, including furloughs, hiring freezes and budget cuts.

Finally, 78% of participants are confident about the future viability of their palliative care program.

Bayhealth’s Palliative Care practice has one physician and four nurse practitioners, with one nurse practitioner at the Sussex Campus.

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