How does the palliative care team operate at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)?
Pain and palliative care teams provide consultations at the request of the physician. They also offer supportive care, based on a 24-hour nurse-centered model. And the social worker’s role is critical. In fact, one of the most dramatic changes that I’ve seen in palliative care has been in the role of the hospital social worker. Q: What are some of the changes you’ve seen in the public’s attitudes towards pain management? A: In general, there is a greater awareness on behalf of the public. Studies have shown that 44% of households are dealing with someone with chronic pain. This has helped move issues of pain management out of end-of-life care into broader areas. One result that we have seen is that the strong fear of addiction that was often associated with pain control in terminally ill people has moved down the list of consumer concerns. Pain control, and the public’s understanding of it, is becoming more sophisticated. I always stress that patients should talk to their physicians ab