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New Medical Director of Center for Hospice Care’s Palliative Care Program at Backus Hospital

Norwich, CT:  Center for Hospice Care announced that Thinesh Dahanayake, MD has been named Medical Director of the agency’s Palliative Care Program at Backus Hospital.  Dahanayake will oversee a program that serves hospital patients and families who are confronting a life-limiting illness.  In a unique partnership between Center for Hospice Care and Backus Hospital, the Palliative Care Program offers a specialized treatment option that combines advanced management of pain and symptoms, with enhanced quality of life.

“I’m so pleased to join the Palliative Care team,” said Dr. Dahanayake, “My new colleagues have been doing cutting-edge work at Backus. In addition to ensuring that our patients receive the best care for their pain and symptoms, I am looking forward to helping them and their families to understand their options and make good choices in the care they receive.  Our goal and focus, after alleviating the patient’s pain and symptoms, is to enhance quality of life for the patient and family.”

Dahanayake is a specialist in critical care and pulmonology, and is board certified in critical care, emergency medicine, internal medicine, and pulmonary disease. In addition to Dahanayake, the Palliative Care team includes Program Director Lisa Besse, Advance Practice Nurses (APRNs) Cheryl Walker, Damaris Figueroa, and Jennifer Telford, and Social Worker Suzanne Smith. Team members are trained and skilled in engaging patients and families in the difficult conversations pertaining to the prognosis and treatment of their disease. 

Dr. Naomi Nomizu who is Chief of the Backus Hospitalist Program says that Dr. Dahanyake is an excellent choice for Medical Director of the Palliative Care Program.   “His depth of knowledge and experience in caring for the sickest patients in the hospital, as well as people in the community with chronic diseases, gives him the background and expertise to know how to apply the palliative approach to patients when they would benefit most.  His calm, thoughtful, and compassionate manner has made him a favorite to work with for patients, nursing staff, and other physicians at Backus.  We look forward to an increasingly rich and robust Palliative Care Program with the addition of his stewardship.” 

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Dahanayake join our Palliative Care team,” said Carol L. Mahier, President and CEO of Center for Hospice Care.  “He embodies our commitment to provide the highest quality care to our patients.”

The Palliative Care Program is a consultative practice in the hospital, which serves patients by:

Freeing physicians to focus on their expertise in disease therapies, while our Palliative Care Team provides their patients with expert evaluation and management of pain and symptoms.
Educating patients and their families about the prognosis of their disease, and guiding them to informed choices of the care they decide to receive.
Collaborating with the patient’s primary care provider to enhance communications and coordination of care among healthcare providers.
Coordinating palliative care and other Center for Hospice Care services in the patient’s home, when the patient leaves the hospital.

Posted on December 11, 2014

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