OVMC & EORH Launch Palliative Care Program

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital will soon offer palliative care for patients living with serious illness.

Palliative care is a specialized medical care focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress encountered when living with a serious illness. OVMC's palliative care team consists of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other health care professionals who work toward the goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and the family and provide an extra layer of support to curative treatment. Types of serious illness are, but not limited to, cancer, congestive heart failure, and kidney failure.

“Through our palliative care program, patients and their families can receive an integrated approach that includes the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care to help cope with the affects of chronic illnesses,” said Michael Caruso, president and CEO of Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corp. “Palliative care addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns that arise with advanced illnesses.”

According to national health care statistics, nearly 90 million Americans are living with serious illnesses, and that number is predicted to double in the next 25 years. In addition, seven of every 10 deaths are caused by chronic conditions. OVMC's administration and health-care managers are responding to these staggering numbers by developing its palliative care division, expected to open this fall, in order to meet the community’s demand for this specialized sector of health care. Caruso noted that lack of palliative care results in untreated symptoms that hamper an individual’s ability to continue his or her activities of daily life.

Patients can expect positive results from palliative care. A recent study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” showed that patients receiving palliative care early required less emergency hospital and ICU care than those with only disease-directed care. Chip Railing, palliative care coordinator, said research supports the positive results palliative care can have on a patient.

“Studies show that when patients have control of their care by working with palliative care teams their quality of care is improved as well as their and their family’s satisfaction,” said Railing.

Railing added that palliative care is the fastest-growing sector of health care today, and OVMC's palliative team is working closely to ensure this newest service complements the hospital's overall mission of caring for patients in all areas of their lives.


Ohio Valley Medical Center, located in Wheeling, W. Va., and East Ohio Regional Hospital, located in Martins Ferry, Ohio, are a 340-bed combined organization with more than 1,600 employees providing the area’s only comprehensive orthopedic centers of excellence, behavioral and mental health services and board certified emergency services on both sides of the Ohio River. We are the Ohio Valley's community hospitals.