Press Release

April 11, 2012

Contact: Janet Ballard, LICSW, Palliative Care Program Coordinator, 360-814-5351

Palliative Care program begins at Skagit Valley Hospital

The pain, stress and symptoms of a serious illness can mount on a patient and family. At Skagit Valley Hospital, the Palliative Care Team has come together to provide specialized, comprehensive medical care for people with serious illness to manage symptoms and match treatment to a patient’s goals.

As an extra layer of support, the Palliative Care Team includes physicians, social workers and chaplains, dedicated to each patient’s quality of life.

"Our Palliative Care Team specializes in the relief of suffering and the achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families," said Anita Meyer, MD, Medical Director of the new Palliative Care program. "Palliative care team members work closely with the patient’s doctors to deliver well-coordinated, well-communicated care. The existing treatment plan is supported, while our team helps the patient live comfortably through the illness."

Palliative care is available to hospitalized patients at any stage of a serious illness. Patients may receive palliative care and curative treatments simultaneously.

"Pain and other symptoms affect your quality of life and the stress can have a big impact on your family," said team member Leslie Estep, MD. "The palliative care team can help."

Palliative care is distinctly different than hospice, which is meant for people in the final months of life.

"Palliative care improves your ability to carry on with your daily life," said Janet Ballard, LICSW, Palliative Care Program Coordinator. "It improves your ability to tolerate medical treatments and helps you to better understand your condition and your choices for medical care."

For more information about palliative care, visit


Photo Caption: Janet Ballard, LICSW, Palliative Care Program Coordinator, Leslie Estep, MD and Anita Meyer, MD, Medical Director, are members of the new Palliative Care Team at Skagit Valley Hospital.