Families Thrilled to Know Comfort Care Chemotherapy is an Option.

Boston, MA -  After years of poor patient satisfaction scores threatened to get Dr. Betty Jensen kicked off the medical staff at Monroe Hospital, she became the first Palliative Care physician in the country to start offering end-of-life comfort care chemotherapy last year and the results have been nothing short of remarkable.

"I could actually feel the tingling deep inside of my patient satisfaction scores rising in real time as patients called out for one last dose of deathbed comfort care chemo before passing peacefully on the vent surrounded by friends and family in the ICU," said Dr. Jensen, who went from worst to first after implementing her chemotherapy protocols.

But life wasn't always so good for Dr. Jensen.  "For years, I was living in fear of my next patient complaint.  Then it hit me one day.  I am a palliative care service.  Cancer patients seem to love palliative chemo.  It just made sense for me to start offering end-of-life palliative chemo to optimize the patient experience," said Dr. Jensen, who now works closely with several oncology groups to maximize her patient satisfaction scores.

At Monroe Hospital, every palliative care consult now gets an automatic oncology referral to make sure no end-of-life patient dies without chemotherapy.  For the last six months palliative care and oncology have been working side-by-side in a symbiotic relationship, maximizing end-of-life comfort care patient satisfaction scores.  Patients and their families have had nothing but praise for this aggressive approach to death with dignity.

"My mother was 92 years old and hadn't been in an upright position in three years.  We knew it was finally time for comfort care when the surgeon said enough was enough after  172 decubitus ulcer debridements failed to make her better.   We thought they would just pump her full of sleeping drugs and let her die a miserable death without food and water, but we were thrilled when the hospice doctor recommended comfort care chemo.  That's why we love this hospital so much. I just wish end-of-life comfort care chemotherapy was available when my father died.  We could have prevented so much suffering," said the daughter of one satisfied patient, who prides herself on being an excellent advocate for patient rights.
Comfort Care Chemotherapy provides peace of mind.

Dr. Jensen agreed.  "We used to tell families and patients about dying with dignity but that just got them all riled up.  Now we tell them about dying with chemo and their ears perk up.  They become excited to hear more.  They are thrilled to know end-of-life doesn't mean end of treatment.  And word must getting out about our great service because we've already been asked by several nursing homes this year to start providing end-of-life skilled nursing home chemo."

Finding the right mix of chemotherapy was not always easy.  Dr. Jensen spent many months trying to find the perfect combination of drugs for her protocols.  "Comfort care chemo is more of an art than an exact science.   In the early days, we caused a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering by being too cautious with our dose adjustments for age and renal function. But we got over that fear after time and time again our patients and their families told us not to hold anything back because their mother was a fighter."

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