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Palliative Care Hotline Plans Statewide Rollout

Audio

Aired 9/15/09

San Diego's Institute for Palliative Medicine is planning to take its new hotline statewide at the end of the month.

— San Diego's Institute for Palliative Medicine is planning to take it's new hotline statewide at the end of the month.

The hotline, called Pal-Med Connect, will allow California doctors and nurses to call anytime for expert advice on caring for old, dying people. Two months ago the institute, which is part of San Diego Hospice, did a "soft launch" by advertising the number only in San Diego. The hotline began because caring for dying patients requires special knowledge that not all doctors have. Helen McNeal, the institute's executive director, said news of the hotline has spread.

"Even though we've only launched in San Diego County we've gotten calls from New York City. Oklahoma. The word has gotten out there," she said.

McNeal said the local hotline been getting about two calls a week but she expects call volume to reach 20 a day within three years. The hotline is free, but only medical professionals are allowed to use it.

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