The Politics of Palliative Care
St. Joseph Medical Center
1000 Carondelet Drive,
Kansas City, Missouri
August 03, 2010
• Death panel discussions in 2009 high jacked real issues surrounding palliative care.
• Workforce capacity of palliative care limits access.
• Hospice benefits limit concurrent active therapies.
• Prescription drug abuse impacts end of life pain management.
Those are some of the political challenges surrounding palliative care in the United States, according to Kathleen Foley, MD, quest speaker at the 16th annual Flanigan Lecture.
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Dr. Kathleen M. Foley is an Attending Neurologist in the Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. She is Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and holds the Chair of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Pain Research.
Dr. Kathleen Foley has focused her career on the assessment and treatment of patients with cancer pain. She has defined the epidemiology, classified the common causes and defined the common pain syndromes that occur in this patient population. With her colleagues, she has developed scientific guidelines for the treatment of cancer pain with analgesic drug therapy through clinical pharmacologic studies of opioid drugs.
In 1995, Dr. Foley devoted time to running the Project on Death in America (PDIA). She was an originator of this project which was funded for nine years by philanthropist George Soros. The focus of the project, which officially concluded at the end of 2003, was to transform the culture of death in America through initiatives in science, the humanities, education, and professional training.
Today, Dr. Kathleen Foley and the PDIA work closely with the
World Health Organization (WHO). Internationally recognized for
her work, Dr. Foley is now on the expert panel and serves as the
chair of the group developing the palliative care standards for
the WHO Cancer Control Program. When honored for her work in
India, Dr. Foley was described with six words.
She knows. She understands. She cares.