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Regence Foundation awards $17,600 to Salem Hospital to launch hospital-based palliative care program

Feb 17, 2010

Palliative care is a medical specialty geared toward helping seriously ill patients find relief from the symptoms of their disease.

Palliative care helps ease pain and suffering for patients with life-threatening illnesses

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Regence Foundation recently awarded $17,600 to Salem Hospital to develop a hospital-based palliative care program with a special emphasis on patients receiving care from the Salem Cancer Institute.

Palliative care is a medical specialty geared toward helping seriously ill patients find relief from the symptoms of their disease.

"Most people associate palliative care with hospice, but palliative care extends well beyond hospice to anyone who needs help managing the pain and symptoms of a serious disease," said Michael Alexander, Regence Foundation board chair. "Hospitals are a critical resource for patients who need help with symptom management, and ensuring palliative care is available to patients earlier in the disease process is a priority for The Regence Foundation. We'd like to recognize Salem Hospital for their work in this important area, and for making this a priority in the community."

The Foundation grant to Salem Hospital is to help the hospital plan and develop its palliative care program. In addition staff from the hospital will attend a Palliative Care Leadership Center (PCLC) training in Portland, Oregon. PCLC is a national training and mentoring initiative to help hospitals start and expand high-quality palliative care programs.

"Implementing a palliative care program is one of our highest priorities this year," said Cheryl Nester Wolfe, Salem Hospital's senior vice president of operations and chief nursing officer. "It's a service that's missing right now, and there is a tremendous amount of staff enthusiasm about this grant and starting a formal palliative care program in Salem."

The grant is part of The Regence Foundation's Sojourns grantmaking program to promote hospital- and community-based palliative care services.

Through Sojourns, The Foundation aims to foster best practices, leadership and collaboration that help people with life-threatening and incurable illness to access quality palliative care in their own community.

About The Regence Foundation

The Regence Foundation is the corporate foundation of Regence, the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain region and a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

A 501(c)3 grantmaking organization, the Foundation partners with organizations driving significant change in health care delivery and accessibility in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Through its Sojourns program, the Foundation also supports organizations advancing quality palliative and end-of-life care. For more information visit

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