Palliative Care: Trends & Polices at MLH

Submitted by Mary O’Hare, MSN, CRNP, ACHPN, Board-Certified Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner


In keeping with the MLH Strategic Plan goal of “standardizing the delivery of palliative services for hospitalized patients,” processes are being developed to help implement evidence-based Palliative Care.


Some examples of recently created processes are:


Identification of System Leadership for Palliative Care

Recently Karl Ahlswede and Cynthia Wagner, both Board-Certified Palliative Care clinicians, joined Andy Norton and Barbara Wadsworth in leading the development of a system-wide Palliative Care program.  

  • Andy Norton, CMO
  • Barbara Wadsworth, CNO
  • Karl Ahlswede, Medical Director: Palliative Care
  • Cynthia Wagner, System Director: Palliative Care


Smart Chart Orders (found by searching the keyword Palliative)

  Consult Requests

  • Palliative Care Consult
  • Hospice Consult
  • Pain Management Consult


   Order Sets

  • Comfort Care orders
  • Inpatient Hospice Admission orders
  • Morphine PCA – Comfort Care (Opioid Naïve)
  • Morphine PCA – Comfort Care (Opioid Tolerant)
  • Palliative Weaning/Vent Withdraw


EMR “Provider Doc” (Smart Chart)

The use of a Palliative Care specific template will facilitate improved communication among clinicians.  It will also facilitate the collection of data and allow for participation in a national database of Palliative Care programs, in order to benchmark the MLH hospitals’ progress in providing appropriate Palliative Care.


Comfort Carts

“Comfort Carts” are for families of patients in the dying process.  These carts are delivered by the Dietary department to the patient’s room to provide light refreshments for families that often do not want to leave the bedside.


MLH Policies & Guidelines

  • Analgesic (Pain Medication) Guidelines: These evidence-based guidelines were developed for safe and effective management of hospitalized patients’ pain.  Please click on the following link to review: (may require logon to MLH network)
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