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New palliative care group promotes importance of quality of life


The New York State Palliative Care Collaborative was formed recently to promote more access to this specialized type of medical care that provides relief to patients with serious diseases.

Palliative care emphasizes improving quality of life while a person copes with chronic and serious health conditions.

Michael Burgess, New York government relations director of the American Cancer Society, says the collaborative wants to assure comfort care is a right to all seriously ill patients.

"I think the thing is to make health providers aware that, and I know many of them are, but to make them realize that it's very, very important that they are not just treating the illness, but treating the patients," Burgess said.

These patients sometimes experience extreme stress and pain associated with their diseases.

"I think it's really important to look at the other factors that we mentioned, the pain but also the psychological burden that many people face with a very serious illness and stress," Burgess explained.

The New York State Palliative Care Collaborative plans to educate the public and state representatives on the role of palliative care during an illness.