New Palliative Care Center to Help Patients Define and Strive for Quality of Life in the Face of Serious Illness

John Shaner, M.D.Southeast Georgia Health System is pleased to announce the recent expansion of its palliative care services. Palliative Medicine is specialized treatment for people with chronic or serious illness and has become the fastest-growing medical specialty in the United States. John Shaner, M.D., medical director of the Health System’s Palliative Care Center, explains that palliative care is focused on providing comfort and support to patients living with a serious illness at any stage in their disease management.

Partnering with Golden Isles Palliative Care

The Health System has partnered with Golden Isles Palliative Care to offer inpatient consultations and establish the new outpatient Palliative Care Center on the Brunswick Campus to help patients navigate their diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options related to serious illness.
“While pain and symptom management is a critical component of palliative care, the bigger picture focuses on communication about achievable goals and care coordination across clinical settings,” says Shaner, board-certified hospice and palliative medicine physician.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is an added layer of care for patients and their families through education, support and treatment of disease symptoms to help maintain quality of life. Palliative care is not one size fits all. It is different for every patient, whether it is pain relief from disease symptoms, stress relief, caregiver and social support, or simply information to make decisions about treatment.
Palliative care includes having conversations with patients and their families to better understand who they are, what they want to achieve, and connect them with the options available to help them reach those goals. Shaner explains that “palliative care can happen anytime, or intermittently, along the continuum of care to provide the patient symptom and support management. It can include multiple forms of support including medical, spiritual or social--such as transportation, housing, food and visitation. Care is directed by the patient’s goals, resulting in greater satisfaction and outcomes.”
Shaner is passionate about the benefits of palliative care. He has been at the forefront of the expanding palliative care movement, pioneering an in-patient palliative care consulting service at Genesis Healthcare System in Zanesville, Ohio. He is a member of the American Academy for Hospice and Palliative Medicine and a certified trainer in Education in Palliative and End of Life Care, a program of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He has given over 40 presentations to date for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, clergy, social service professionals and other ancillary staff.
Appointments at the Palliative Care Center are made following a physician referral. The Palliative Care Center is located in the Outpatient Care Center on the Health System’s Brunswick Campus. For more information, please call 912-466-5190.