• Palliative Care

  • Facing a serious illness or disability can be a trying and difficult experience for patients.  At the same time, dealing with chronic illness and its associated symptoms can be emotionally, physically and spiritually disruptive to the family.

    The Penrose-St. Francis Health Services Palliative Care Team, comprised of professionals trained to manage such issues, is dedicated to relieving symptoms and maintaining the best quality of life for patients and their families who, together, are fighting the disease.

    Palliative care is available to patients at any stage of their illness, offering them a chance to aggressively treat the symptoms of their disease - for example, pain, shortness of breath, nausea - while continuing treatment. 

    Effective palliative care increases the likelihood that patients will cope adequately with the rigors of their therapy and maintain a satisfying level of physical and psychosocial functioning. 

    Palliative care treats the patient and family as a unit, providing care to the caregivers, as well as to the patient. 

    What is palliative care?

    Palliative care is defined as medical care that specializes in effectively treating the pain, symptoms and stress that can accompany serious illness.

    Who is on the Palliative Care team?

    The Palliative Care team is comprised of a medical director, an advanced practice nurse, a case manager and a chaplain.  They may call in other professionals, as appropriate.  Together, they work with the patient and family to make decisions that will improve the quality of life for all.  Having everyone involved can ease tensions and create solutions that improve the patient's and family's experience during care and clarify goals of the treatment.

    When is a Palliative Care team consult appropriate?

    Ask for a Palliative Care team consult when the patient and family are trying to manage:

    • Repeated admissions for an advanced illness;
    • Symptoms that are interfering with quality of life;
    • Lack of response to curative therapies and changing goals of care;
    • Conflict regarding illness management or treatment course;
    • Significant, progressive, functional decline; and
    • Spiritual and/or emotional distress.

    Palliative care may be appropriate for patients with:

    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or emphysema
    • Severe diabetes
    • Kidney failure
    • Patients with cancer who are undergoing treatment
    • Patients with severe joint or back pain

    To request a Palliative Care team consult, discuss you needs with the physician treating you or your loved one. 

  • Contact info

  • For more information on the Penrose-St. Francis Health Services Palliative Care program, call Ginny Davis at (719) 776-5646.

  • Dr. Jonathan Weston

    Dr. Jonathan Weston specializes in palliative medicine and is board certified with the American Board of Family Medicine. Prior to completing his Family Practice Residency at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, in Washington D.C., Dr. Weston obtained his medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Weston has served the Colorado Springs area since 1981 and brings more than 15 years of palliative medicine experience to Centura Health Physician Group and Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.

    As the Penrose-St. Francis Health Services palliative care physician lead, Dr. Weston provides clinical supervision of the Palliative Care team and support staff. He focuses on and maintains desired quality and establishes cost outcomes, provides consultation regarding patient care issues, acts as liaison between administration, palliative care team and the department director, and assists in the development of standards of care, clinical pathways and clinical outcome indicators.

    In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, hiking, Harley Davidson motorcycles and spending time with his Bernese mountain dogs.

    Julie KelleyPalliative Care Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

    Julie A. Kelley is an Adult Nurse Practitioner with the Inpatient Palliative Care Team within the Penrose St. Francis Healthcare System. She is credentialed through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and has completed End of Life Nursing Curriculum (ELNEC) training. She has worked in various areas within the Penrose St. Francis over the past 31 years. Her expertise is in managing the spiritual, psychological, biophysical symptoms of serious illness. She has been a member of the Palliative Care Inpatient team at Penrose St. Francis for 1 year. Her goal is to provide patients and their families with support and information to make informed decisions regarding their goals of care. Furthermore, she strives to treat symptoms commonly associated with serious illness which contribute to a decrease in life satisfaction. 

    Jamie RushfordPalliative Care Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

    Jamie Rushford is a Board Certified Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist who holds a specialty certification in Advanced Hospice and Palliative Nursing through the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC). She received her BS in Nursing from Niagara University, Niagara Falls, NY and her MS in Nursing from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Jamie has over 15 years’ experience as a Clinical Oncology Nurse and has worked for the past 3 years with the Inpatient Palliative Care Team at Penrose St. Francis Hospitals. Jamie is passionate about improving the quality of lives for patients and their families living with serious, life limiting illnesses through excellent pain/symptom management and shared decision making. 

    Ginny DavisPalliative Care Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

    Ginny Davis is a Clinical Nurse Specialist with board certification in Adult Health, as well as Hospice and Palliative Care.  She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Illinois, an MBA from Northwestern University, and a Masters in Nursing with a specialty in palliative care from the University of Colorado.  During her career, she has worked in various clinical and management positions throughout the continuum of care, as well as in healthcare consulting. 

    Ginny founded the palliative care program at Penrose-St. Francis 10 years ago and has applied both her clinical and business knowledge and skills toward the development and growth of the program.   She has been an advocate for Advance Directives both in the hospital as well as the community, and was the only hospital representative on the state-wide Colorado Advance Directives Consortium which developed the Colorado MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment) form.  Ginny co-founded the “No One Dies Alone” program, which provides 24/7 availability of volunteers to sit vigil with patients who are dying.  Ginny strives to provide personalized care for those who are chronically ill, through excellent pain/symptom management, honest discussions of their current disease state and the expected course of their disease, and assistance in the development of realistic goals and choices so that patients can achieve the highest quality of life possible.  

    Heather KennedyPalliative Care Medical Social Worker

    Heather Kennedy serves as the licensed master level social worker for the Penrose-St Francis Palliative Care team. She obtained her graduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. She worked in the field of hospice several years before joining the Palliative Care team four years ago. Heather addresses the psychosocial needs of patients and families affected by serious and life-limiting illness and strives to maintain and improve their quality of life. She is privileged to offer compassionate counsel to patient and families deciding on goals of care and other critical medical decisions.

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