Erich Mounce Emphasizes the Importance of Palliative Care

June 1, 2019

Erich Mounce, chief operating officer, OneOncology, discusses the importance of palliative care and how it impacts quality of life.

Erich Mounce, chief operating officer, OneOncology, discusses the importance of palliative care and how it impacts quality of life.

Transcript

Palliative care is often underutilized for certain cancers, such as blood cancers. How important is this type of care, and how does it impact patient quality of life?

Hugely important. And the other piece is palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to pass away from cancer. Palliative care is really symptom management, and symptom management especially for high comorbidity patients is difficult. Palliative care physicians, especially if they’re trained and boarded in palliative care, can really provide a good transition for patients that are going through chemotherapy or other treatment modalities that address those symptoms so they don’t end up in the emergency room.

That palliative care entry should be done early on with certain cancers. At West Cancer Center, a founding member of the OneOncology process, they actually brought in a palliative care doctor, 2 of them, in house, that are seeing patients on automatic referrals for certain cancers because we know they’re going to have high symptoms or high changes in the way their lifestyle is while they’re going through cancer therapy. Finally, for patients that do succumb, that palliative care interaction and the introduction into hospice is so much better these days and is so important, if you’re a family member, to go through that end of life process without just sort of being left on a hospital bed to die.