by Jen Bose, Marketing & Membership Manager

Working with AAHPM for several years has allowed me to get to know some of our members fairly well. I look forward to the Annual Assembly and summer courses each year because I get to connect with members in real life. When the opportunity for Jordan Endicott, Manager of Health Policy and Advocacy, and I to visit Drs. Christian Sinclair and Paul Tatum came up I jumped at the opportunity. Not only would I get to see what they do on a “typical” day I would also be able to understand how the Academy impacts everyone working on the interdisciplinary team and the patients and their families.

Thursday September 24
Kansas University Hospital – Kansas City, KS

We started the morning watching offsite lectures with fellows with Dr. Sinclair. After the lectures we met the three palliative care teams as they discussed the patients for the day. Then we were off to see patients with Dr. Sinclair and the nurse on his team. Each patient had a unique situation and required a slightly different approach and discussion. Some of the discussions were led by Dr. Sinclair and some were managed by the nurse. Every conversation focused around the patient. For some it was about how he or she was feeling that day and what could be done to make him or her more comfortable. For others it was finding out what their expectations were in their recovery and what their quality of life goals were. All of the conversations were warm and personable with a focus on making sure everyone was on the same page. We ended the day at the National World War I Museum before eating delicious barbeque.

Friday September 25
University of Missouri – Columbia, MO

The day started with a team meeting and shadowing a patient visit at the University. We then made our way over to the office where Dr. Tatum sees his geriatric patients. All of the patients adore Dr. Tatum and based on the appointments it is easy to see why. He knows them all very well and has very supportive conversations with them about their present situation and what they hope for in the future and suggestions on how they can get there. We were able to meet the nurse that Dr. Tatum works with in the office that serves as his right hand woman. Then we were off to Jefferson City to meet with the CEO of a state level hospice and palliative care organization. She explained some of the issues that she has been facing in the state and the amazing educational offerings that her organization has created. Our night ended at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival where we met up with Dr. Gregg VandeKieft to enjoy music and great food.

Final Thoughts

I was confident that I knew what our members did but in an abstract way. I have seen the process firsthand when my Grandma started a palliative care treatment plan and eventually hospice. Shadowing Dr. Sinclair and his team at the hospital and Dr. Tatum at the hospital and clinic was truly eye opening. The warmth and compassion that was present in every conversation was astonishing. I often found myself on the verge of tears and so proud to work with the amazing people working in hospice and palliative medicine every day.