Page 2 - Heart of Hoag - Issue 3
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Hoag’s CARES Program Infuses Lives with Meaning, Joy, Comfort and Dignity
The compassionate palliative team focuses not just on patients’ physical comfort, but on their spiritual and emotional needs as well
The misconceptions surrounding palliative care are many, which is why Hoag is transforming the way people view this essential part of medicine.
Palliative care is not about death or dying, and it is not about terminal illness.
Palliative care is about life.
It is about finding meaning, purpose and comfort for anyone battling a serious illness, and partnering with families to establish an unwavering support system for every patient.
“Palliative care is appropriate at any stage, or any age, of illness,” said Vincent Nguyen, D.O., C.M.D., CARES Program Director, “We believe that life is precious and worth fighting for.”
Through Hoag’s CARES program, a compassionate medical team collaborates to find the delicate balance of modifying treatment, while managing symptoms and providing support for the family.
The CARES program also emphasizes the importance of counseling and educating patients and their families about treatment options. Increasingly, the community is learning about these important efforts – and responding generously. Hoag’s Hospital Foundation reports that philanthropic activities are playing a special role in the CARES program’s growth and ability to provide its compassionate services to Hoag patients and their families.
“We focus on reducing pain and symptoms to attempt to fulfill not only the medical needs of our patients, but also their spiritual and emotional needs as well,” Nguyen said.
Dispelling the myths often associated with palliative care also is an important part of Hoag’s CARES mission. CARES team members help calm the fears and quiet the concerns of those facing serious illness.
“We are afraid to talk about palliative care because
it makes people feel uncomfortable and that is the reality,” Nguyen said. “But it is about shifting hope. Even though we can’t cure, there is healing taking place.”
By focusing on how patients can live their best life, the CARES team seeks to reinvigorate a sense of purpose for the seriously ill.
“We don’t represent death; we represent life,” Nguyen explained. “We help patients find faith and hope during their illness.”
Dr. Nguyen’s philosophy is compassionate and straightforward: “We believe life is precious and worth fighting for.”

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