July 21, 2022

Kline Galland partners with UW Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program

At Kline Galland, we believe that hospice care is integral to providing comprehensive, compassionate care for all. When families are facing the realities of a life-limiting illness, hospice care can help recognize that life is to be cherished and celebrated in every moment. Our interdisciplinary team of compassionate professionals honor life and its transition into death by providing emotional, social and spiritual support to both the patient and family.  

We are deeply proud to partner with the University of Washington’s Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program to provide this important care. We sat down with Dr. Rob Ali, Kline Galland’s Hospice Physician, to discuss the partnership and why it matters to him:

How did this partnership come about between Kline Galland and the University of Washington School of Medicine?

I am actually a graduate myself of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Training Program at the University of Washington, class of 2020-2021. When I joined the Kline Galland team, I felt strongly that we give back to the UW community by partnering with the fellowship program to offer a Fellowship rotation. Teaching has always been something I wanted to prioritize in my career and I am super excited to get the opportunity to be an educator so early in my career. 

How does the Fellowship rotation work?

The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program is a 1-year clinical fellowship program where medical doctors rotate through various practice settings to learn clinical skills in the subspecialty of hospice and palliative medicine. The UW HPM fellowship program trains doctors from a variety of clinical backgrounds (internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, emergency medicine). The fellowship rotation with Kline Galland is a 2-week training experience focused on providing practical clinical education by way of a hands-on experience with our hospice in the Greater Seattle community and at Kline Galland Home. Rotating fellows join me on a variety of house calls, nursing home visits, and interdisciplinary meetings during their 2-week rotation. 

What does the KG rotation offer a HPM fellow that another place wouldn’t?

The Kline Galland rotation offers fellows a highly practical community based 2-week rotation that 1) is tailored to each individual fellows learning objectives and 2) an aspect of clinical training that is hard to replicate in the university/hospital setting: medical management of complex symptoms in patients with advanced disease of hospice patients in the community (community = at home or in a nursing home rather than in the hospital). 

Practically, the Kline Galland rotations offer fellows exposure to being on-call, answering common and complex symptom management questions. These calls can be very stressful for new graduates without experiencing them first-hand. Our rotation allows fellows to experience this with support and discussion from our team.

Additionally, I believe that Hospice and Palliative Medicine is both an art and a science. There are a lot of intangible skills that are highly important but difficult to formally teach. For example, a good HPM doctor should have emotional coping skills, providing guidance for dying patients & families, and navigating moral distress associated with providing care for dying patients are a few examples of those intangible skills that are equally important to the training of a well-rounded Hospice doctor. There is no billable procedure code for this emotional work but there is obvious value in attending to it and talking through these challenges for doctors in training.  

What has your experience been with the fellows?

Personally, I always imagined myself as a community doctor and not so much as a professor/academic type. The UW Fellows program allows me to do both—practice community medicine and teach fellows in the way that I think adds value to my community and profession. Having a rotating fellow is energizing and engaging, fellows ask excellent questions which force me to learn and solidify my knowledge. It’s a symbiotic relationship and I’m excited for future fellows. 

How did you find yourself turning to Palliative Care for your own career path?

As a first-generation college student, I didn’t really know what I was doing. When I went to Medical School, I had even less of an idea but I was enamored by the bells and whistles of the ICU. I created an identity around becoming a macho ICU doctor but over years in training, I encountered a lot of moral distress about the aggressive care I was providing people in the ICU, especially at the end of life. With these moral headwinds, I reassessed my values and found myself more philosophically aligned with palliative care doctors. These doctors saw each patient as a human, and were providing the care I most wanted to provide to my own patients. My values led me to the Fellowship at UW in Seattle, and then ultimately to Kline Galland.

How can our partnership with the UW work to expand the understanding of Hospice and Palliative Care?

The UW Fellows program is a great way to introduce Hospice philosophy and works to demystify the black box of hospice. There is a lot of unpacking the stereotypes of hospice for families and physicians alike. I’m so happy to be able to provide visibility into how much thoughtful conversation and care management goes into every patient’s care, behind the scenes. Allowing visibility into how we offer hospice care is so important for establishing trust in our community, our patients and fellows alike. 

Hospice care is a very important part of Kline Galland’s identity. Our approach is built on an unwavering commitment to time-honored values like empathy, integrity, and faith. Our highly specialized and compassionate team is available to help with everything from symptom management and pain control to bereavement counseling and grief support. We are Medicare Certified, CHAP Accredited, and available to seniors throughout King County. 

If you would like to learn more about Kline Galland’s Hospice Care, please visit our website at: www.klinegalland.org/hospice