Categorized | Health

Hawaii Palliative Care Center making a difference


It has been seven months since the grand opening of the Hawaii Palliative Care Center (HPCC) and already the impact can be felt in the patient stories who have accessed its care and support.

Anita Politano-Steckel speaks softly as she explains the difference the HPCC has made for her and family.

“I’ve had a heart condition since 2008,” said Politano-Steckel. “Earlier this year, I had a medical emergency and found myself in the hospital, terrified for my life. The physicians and team at the hospital did a wonderful job caring for me, but after my procedures, it was a question of, ‘What now?’”

Politano-Steckel met Dr. Frances Spector, Palliative Care Specialist of the Hawaii Palliative Care Center, as she was resting in the hospital after operation.

“She was like a glass of ice cold water after walking through a desert,” Palitano-Steckel said. “She was so perceptive, so compassionate and understanding. She spoke to me as a person, helping me understand my condition. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, but she helped me understand how my family and I could work together with my physicians to help resolve some complications that were a result of my condition.”

Palliative Care is a specialty designed to help alleviate the severe symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It can be provided alongside curative treatment and is an extra layer of support to assist the patient’s current physician and team of specialist.

“At its core, the HPCC helps patients navigate the very complex health care options they have,” said Spector. “Our team helps patients understand the big picture of their illness, guiding them to establish a plan of care which aligns with their priorities, and help the family understand how to ensure those priorities are honored.”

“There are so many patients and families suffering right now because of the severe symptoms and confusion associated with complex or serious illnesses,” said Hospice of Hilo CEO Brenda Ho. “That is why Hospice of Hilo launched this new line of service. If the Hawaii Palliative Care Center can help to alleviate any of those challenges, it means a better quality of life for the patients and family.”

Not only has Politano-Steckel benefited from the in-depth conversation with the HPCC providers, she has also received support from its Care Coordinator and volunteer services.

“Julie Kai is an angel,” said Politano-Steckel, “She has planned meal deliveries to my house and provided such compassionate support.”

Ever since Politano-Steckel’s first meeting with the providers of the Hawaii Palliative Care Center, she finds comfort knowing there is more support available.

“Frankly, our community needs to know that this resource is here,” she said. “This program is quite special and it would be so beneficial if people knew what it had to offer.”

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