Hampton Roads, Virginia (November 2011) - John Patterson, M.D. recently joined Sentara Home Care Services as a full-time Medical Director for its Hospice Program. Dr. Patterson is a graduate of UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and trained at Ghent Family Practice for internship and residency in family medicine. He practiced at Princess Anne Family Practice for eight years and an additional nine years as a solo physician primarily caring for the homebound elderly. Earlier this year, Dr. Patterson joined the Sentara Hospice Program as full-time Medical Director after several years of working with the program part-time.
The Medical Director’s role with Sentara Hospice is to help manage the medical needs of patients in the Hospice Program through advising and assisting the primary nurses, and visiting patients in their residence. Dr. Patterson helps primary care physicians by providing care directly through home visits or by phone consultation to help resolve problems. Pain management and physical and emotional comfort are a prime focus.
Dr. Patterson will also assume the primary care of patients if needed or requested by the patient’s primary care physician,
As the Medical Director, Dr. Patterson can also be involved in the home with difficult patient or family situations and provide feedback to help the primary physician understand the issues and possible solutions.
Dr. Patterson visits approximately 15-20 patients each week in their homes in addition to administrative duties. The Sentara Hospice Program has 27 full- and part-time nurses; Dr. Patterson is on-call 24 hours a day to give advice on the management of medical problems such as elevated blood pressure, symptoms that need control, or prescriptions that are needed. Dr. Patterson is available to meet with the nurse and patient directly to address the individual’s problems first hand. After visiting the patient, he can discuss the issues with the primary attending physician.
In Hospice, physical and emotional support begins at the start of the program, but the amount will vary based on the patient’s and family’s needs. Hospice always discusses the management of end-of-life issues such as optimal pain management, what signs and symptoms can be expected, and how these problems might be managed.
Hospice is a coordinated, end-of-life program of care, mainly in the patient’s home, which focuses on comfort and dignity. The Sentara Hospice Program is supported by hospice nurses, physicians, aides, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers.
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