Summa Health System has long been known for providing exceptional health care to patients; for its innovation in the development of medical technology; and for its leadership role in the community.
That relationship with the Akron community is one Summa takes very seriously. Through the years, Summa has worked hand-in-glove with local providers and community organizations to sponsor programs that benefit the greater Akron area.
One such program is known as DOVE. This is a partnership between Summa, law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office and social services agencies and is designed to provide coordinated, compassionate service to domestic violence and sexual assault victims. The DOVE program is the only one of it kind in Ohio that utilizes a forensic nursing model to collect evidence.
Summa works closely with Violet’s Cupboard, a local social service agency to provide comprehensive care to HIV/AIDS patients.
The Joan H. Michelson Women’s Resource Center is a health education center designed to promote heath and wellness to individuals and families. Located on the Akron City Hospital Campus, the Center has been recognized for its service to the surrounding community.
OPEN M was founded as an outreach of 60 congregations with a mission to address the short-term needs and to effect long-term change for those living in hardship. Summa physicians, residents and other staff members serve as key volunteers in OPEN M’s free medical clinic. Additionally, Summa donates equipment and supplies when feasible. Summa physicians are the primary volunteer medical resource for this organization.
Summa Health System is part and parcel of the Akron community. While Summa relies on the community for support, it seeks to offer it in return. Its contributions as a valuable partner with many fine area organizations are a source of great pride.
Palliative Care Unit houses multiple services
Team relieves suffering, improves quality of life
Society’s views about medical care for seriously ill loved ones have changed dramatically over the years. In the early 1900s, the average life expectancy in the United States was only about 50 years, child mortality was high and people died quickly from infectious disease and accidents. As a result, society tended to embrace end-of-life matters as natural and necessary components of the continuum of life.
As science and technology have advanced, medicines and other treatments have been developed for illnesses and injuries that once were considered fatal, which sometimes prolongs the process of dying. This trend has given rise to the creation of hospice and palliative care services at medical facilities across the country. Summa Health System is no exception.
In July, Summa opened a wing on 3 East at Akron City Hospital to accommodate Acute Palliative Care services. The 12-bed unit provides the equipment, space and atmosphere needed to provide care for seriously ill patients who were spread out across the hospital. “By mid-century, the number of people over the age of 85 will increase by 500 percent, and those with advanced chronic illness will increase proportionately,” said Medical Director of Summa’s Palliative Care and Hospice Services Skip Radwany, M.D. “Offering an acute palliative care unit gives patients an alternative. They can choose to focus on function and comfort rather than intensive care.”
While Hospice of Summa has provided inpatient and outpatient services since 1999, Summa’s Palliative Care Consult Service, a multidisciplinary team, had moved around the hospital since 2003, working at each patient’s bedside, providing medical and comfort-care services. More than 1,100 seriously ill patients have received care since the consult service was created, with about 60 patients currently treated each month.
The fundamental difference between the two services is that hospice provides services for terminally ill patients and their families, while palliative care serves patients and their families by helping to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life at any time during the course of an illness.
“Patients receiving palliative care are not necessarily terminally ill,” said Director of Summa’s Palliative Care and Hospice Services John Mastrojohn, III. “In other words, all hospice is palliative care, but not all palliative care is hospice.”
In addition to medical staff, the Palliative Care Consult Service team includes a chaplain, a dietician and a social worker. “The palliative care team is the critical element,” Radwany said. “It focuses the efforts of multiple disciplines to meet the needs of the patient and the family.”
The new unit allows patients who eventually require hospice to remain in the care of their primary care doctor, rather than being transferred to a facility with an assigned physician. It also provides a comfortable place to move patients off ventilators and other types of advanced support.
For information on Summa's Acute Palliative Care services, contact the Summa Foundation at (330) 375-3159.