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New Palliative Care Hotline for SD's Health Care Providers

San Diego's Institute for Palliative Medicine has launched an informational hotline for doctors and other health care providers. As KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg tells us, it's the first service of its kind in California.

Palliative care is a medical specialty that deals with the prevention and relief of suffering. Hospices are most often associated with this kind of care.

Dr. Charles von Gunten is Provost for San Diego's Institute for Palliative Medicine. He says the hotline was created because there aren't very many palliative care doctors in California.


"So this hotline gives a resource to physicians, nurses, pharmacists in the state, who have a question about a particular patient, to get some expert education and advice," he says.

The hotline is staffed by nurse practitioners. Depending on the need, they can refer calls to doctors or pharmacists.