What is Palliative Care? (Hint: It’s not Hospice)

I think many of us have heard of palliative care but there seems to be a lot of confusion on what it is exactly. That’s what we are going to clarify in today’s episode.  Dr. Heather Sung is a palliative care physician in Connecticut and shares what it is, how it differs from hospice and how we can incorporate palliative care in our treatment plans that can result in better outcomes and better quality of life.

In an age where we are rushed in and out of doctor’s offices, it is a breath of fresh air to know that there are some doctors who choose to practice human centered care.   Palliative care doctors work with a team composed of a nurse practitioner, social worker and chaplain, all trained in palliative care and all there to help not only treat the disease but also fulfill the patient’s wishes on howthey want to live.  Somehow in our rush to create cures and treatments for many of today’s present diseases, the patient’s emotional wellbeing was left behind.

When we have a serious, life threatening illness, there are so many emotional and psychological aspects to grapple with in addition to fighting the actual disease itself.  Palliative care addresses these issues at any point, not only at the end of life.

As we continue to develop this series, we want to hear from you.  What is important to you?  What issues would like to see addressed?   This series is for all of us and we want to make sure that the information is valuable and useful.  Email us at hello@modernage.tvand let us know!!

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Email us at hello[at]modernage.tv and let us know!!

Thanks so much for watching and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE, SHARE, LIKE AND COMMENT. By subscribing, you will be the first to know when the newest episode goes live – EVERY FIRST AND THIRD THURSDAY OF THE MONTH.

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES

Dr. Sung’s private practice website

DR. HEATHER SUNG

Dr. Heather Sung has been in medical practice for twenty years.  She received her medical degree at the University of Connecticut and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in 1998. She attributes much of her knowledge on doctoring to her early career as a community physician in Boston with Massachusetts General Hospital.  There, she was inspired by the devotion and compassion of her colleagues and the richness and diversity of her patients.

She moved back to Connecticut to begin a family and worked as a Hospitalist at Danbury Hospital from 2002-2016.  With a great interest in the humanism of medicine, Dr. Sung became board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2012. In 2016, she transitioned fully into the practice of this specialty and became the Clinical Leader of Palliative Care at Norwalk Hospital.  Recognizing the growing complexity of disease and the increasing needs of our aging population, as well as the shortage in meeting these needs in the outpatient setting, Dr. Sung has now embarked on establishing a community-based Palliative Medicine practice.

In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Sung strongly believes that experience and knowledge should be shared.  As such she has been very active in education.  During her time in Boston, Dr. Sung was an Instructor in Medicine for Harvard Medical School and was part of the Clinical Faculty of the Massachusetts General Hospital Internal Medicine Residency. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, and she has done the Palliative Medicine lecture series for the Norwalk Hospital Internal Medicine Residency.  Additionally, Dr. Sung has taught the Palliative Medicine lecture series for Sacred Heart University’s Physician Assistant School.

Dr. Sung believes that being entrusted by her patients is a true gift.  In her free time, Dr. Sung enjoys being active outside with nature with her husband and two teenage boys.


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