Dr. John Shaner is the medical director for Palliative Care at Southeast Georgia Health System. Dr. Shaner, who is board-certified in both internal medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, is a passionate advocate for palliative care and its benefits. Prior to moving to Brunswick in 2010, he pioneered an inpatient palliative care consulting service at Genesis HealthCare System in Zanesville, Ohio. Nurse Practitioner Ashley Head and Nurse Navigator Vicki Peck are highly experienced members of the GIPC team and work closely with Dr. Shaner to provide patient-centered palliative care.

What is palliative care?
 
Palliative care — associated with improved patient satisfaction and quality of life — is the fastest growing, board-certified physician specialty in the United States.
 
Palliative care is tailored to meet the unique needs of each patient, whether this involves alleviation of pain and symptoms; stress relief; social support; or simply information to make informed decisions about treatment. In addition, palliative care includes education and support for patients’ caregivers and loved ones.
 
The palliative care team listens and takes time to understand what’s important to patients and helps them evaluate treatment options to ensure that their medical treatment plan is aligned with their goals.
 
Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage of an illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. Palliative care can be provided in a variety of settings including the hospital, outpatient clinic, and at home.
 
How does palliative care work with my own doctor?
 
The palliative care team coordinates with your physician to provide an extra layer of support for you and your family. The team provides expert symptom management; extra time for communication about your goals and treatment options; and help with navigating the health care system.
 
Is palliative care right for me?
 
Palliative care may be right for you if you or a loved one suffers from pain, stress, or other distressing symptoms due to a serious illness. Palliative care is helpful for treatment of all types of diagnoses including cancer, heart and lung conditions, and liver or kidney disease.
 
What are the benefits of palliative care?
 
Palliative Care can help relieve symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, depression, lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping, nausea, and constipation. For people living with a serious illness, palliative care helps enhance the quality of their daily lives and assists them with better understanding their conditions and choices for medical care.
 
Where can I find palliative care in our community?
 
Southeast Georgia Health System partners with Golden Isles Palliative Care to operate the health system’s Palliative Care Center at the Brunswick Campus. Both hospital inpatient and outpatient clinic services are available. GIPC plans to expand services for local nursing homes in the near future. For more information, call 912-466-5190 or visit goldenislespc.org.