STORY FEATURE: Project ECHO

End of life care is a difficult topic for most families to discuss.

Deep emotion and pain tend to take over and decisions are often hard to make. Healthcare professional are responsible for facilitating these conversations, which require a great amount of empathy, wisdom and skill.

ResolutionCareFund, located in Eureka, is a local lead nonprofit educational project sponsored by Community Initiatives of San Francisco to support families along this journey. ResolutionCare Fund is a licensed affiliate of Project ECHO, a program based out of the University of New Mexico which utilizes a knowledge-sharing model to improve qualitt and expertise in basic palliative care in a diversity of practice settings.

Their team uses videoconferencing technology to bring palliative care skills and support to healthcare professionals across the nation and globe so they can assist their patients in making the best possible choices.

The goal of palliative care medicine is to improve the quality of life for patients, as well as their families, by providing relief from symptoms, pain and stress. The care team includes a physician, nurse and other specialists,all working together with a patient's own doctor for an extra layer of support.

Last Fall, with a grant from Union Labor Health Foundation, ResolutionCare Fund launched a seven-month, twelve-session training program which included providers from several local medical practices, including United Indian Health Services, K'ima:w Medical Center, Six Rivers Medical Center, Arcata Community Life, Redwoods Rural Health Center, and Redwood Coast in Gualala.

These care teams are now equipped with the tools necessary to incorporate palliative care into their practices. This has allowed them to better manage symptoms among seriously ill and aging parents, while addressing advance care planning opportunities and helping providers participate in shared decision-making from a patient-centered perspective.

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