The Thomas Palliative Care program at VCU’s Massey Cancer Center wins prestigious national award
Public Relations Manager
Massey Cancer Center
The Thomas Palliative Care program at
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center earned a
prestigious “Circle of Life” award from the American Hospital
Association for Massey’s model program that provides patient-centered
palliative care to people with serious or terminal illnesses.
As one of three national award recipients from a field of more than
1,500 hospital-based palliative care programs, VCU’s palliative care
team will travel to San Diego on July 29 to accept the $25,000 award and
share its expertise with doctors and administrators attending the AHA’s
Palliative care – a fast-growing form of care in the United States --
aims to prevent and relieve suffering for patients who have
life-limiting or terminal illnesses while providing emotional, physical,
spiritual and practical support for patients and their families.
“Everyone deserves the best quality of care as possible when they are
coping with the extraordinary burden that terminal illnesses represent
for patients and their families,” said Sheldon Retchin, M.D., CEO of the
VCU Health System. “We are proud to be recognized as a national leader
and innovator in palliative care, and we remain deeply committed to
sharing our expertise with other healthcare providers across the country
who want to offer this important form of care to their patients.”
The Thomas Palliative Care Unit has 11 beds in a unique, home-like
atmosphere, providing easy access to a wide variety of treatments and
therapies throughout the VCU Medical Center. About 50 percent of its
patients have cancer.
highly specialized multi-disciplinary team delivers a wide variety of
services to patients including pain management, physical therapy,
psycho-social counseling, financial and legal planning, spiritual
counseling, pet and art therapy, massage and liberal family visitation.
Thomas J. Smith, M.D., founder and director of the program and an
oncologist for the Massey Cancer Center, says, “We can address all of a
patient’s needs in hours, not days, and we involve their family in the
decision-making process. More and more hospitals nationwide are
recognizing that not only is this the right way to treat patients, but
it’s cost-effective, too.”
The Circle of Life Award celebrates programs that contribute
significantly to palliative and end-of-life care. The awards are
supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and are sponsored by the
American Hospital Association, the American Association of Homes and
Services for the Aging, the American Medical Association, and the
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
The Circle of Life selection committee included leaders in medicine,
nursing, social work, and health administration. The committee focused
on innovative programs that respect patient goals and preferences,
provide comprehensive care, acknowledge and address the family or
caregivers’ concerns and needs, and build systems and mechanisms of
support to continue the program for future patients and caregivers.
The Massey Cancer Center also serves as the home base for a Palliative
Care Leadership Training program – one of six designated sites in the
country that provides training and mentorships on the operational
aspects of starting and managing palliative care programs. Massey also
offers hands-on training for Virginia health care professionals who
would like to learn palliative care.
To learn more about the Palliative Care Leadership Training Program,
www.capc.org. For information on palliative care clinical training
at Massey, contact Carrie Cybulski, program coordinator, at
email@example.com. To learn more about the Circle of Life award,
- About the VCU Massey Cancer Center
VCU Massey Cancer Center is one of only 66 National Cancer Institute-designated institutions in the country that leads and shapes America’s cancer research efforts. Working with all kinds of cancers, the Center conducts basic, translational and clinical cancer research, provides state-of-the-art treatments and clinical trials, and promotes cancer prevention and education. Since 1974, Massey has served as an internationally recognized center of excellence. It offers a wide range of clinical trials throughout Virginia, oftentimes the most trials in the state, and serves patients in Richmond and in four satellite locations. Its 1,000 researchers, clinicians and staff members are dedicated to improving the quality of human life by developing and delivering effective means to prevent, control and ultimately to cure cancer. Visit Massey online at www.massey.vcu.edu or call 877-4-MASSEY for more information.