The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, in partnership with OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, is pleased to announce a new physician training program in hospice and palliative medicine.

Palliative medicine focuses on improving the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with serious life-threatening illness. This is done through prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. The one-year training program will provide in-depth training on pain and symptom management, other quality of life issues, advanced communication skills, and legal and ethical issues.

“The goal with palliative medicine is to get involved early in the course of a patient’s illness and help them have the best quality of life, and help them live well even as they approach the end of their lives,” said Dr. Andrew Kamell, Director of the Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship at UICOMP.

“It’s about helping our patients live fully every day. Our focus is the patient, not the disease, although we support and work alongside those in the care team who are focused on the disease,” said Kamell, who has specialized in palliative and hospice medicine for more than 10 years.

Each year, the program will accept up to two physicians. Recruitment just got underway. The physicians in the program will train at OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Medical Center, OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home, area nursing homes, an outpatient clinic, and even conduct home visits.

With more than 9 million people in the U.S. facing serious illness, an aging population, and few physicians trained in this area, this training addresses critical needs. Palliative medicine has become the fastest-growing medical specialty in the U.S. but there are not nearly enough trained physicians to meet current or future demand.

Hospice and Palliative Medicine is the fifth new UICOMP fellowship added in partnership with OSF in the past five years. The others are: Cardiovascular Disease in 2012, Gastroenterology in 2014, Simulation in 2016, and Pulmonary Critical Care earlier this year.