American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Honors the Specialty’s Visionaries
(Las Vegas) – Warren Wheeler, M.D., medical director and director of palliative medicine for Nathan Adelson Hospice, has been named one of the 30 most influential leaders in hospice and palliative medicine, the medical specialty focused on relieving suffering and improving quality of life for people with serious illnesses.
In celebration of 25 years serving the profession, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) asked its 5,000 members to nominate who they thought are the leaders – or visionaries – in the field. They then asked members to vote for the top 10 among the 111 nominated.
Wheeler is one of 30 physicians, nurses and authors recognized by peers for the important role they played in advancing the medical specialty of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He has been a pioneer in the field of hospice and palliative care in the United States. Throughout his medical career, which spans more than 40 years, he has committed his practice of medicine to treating patients with life-limiting illness and those in need of acute pain management. In his current position, he oversees the in-patient unit at Nathan Adelson Hospice’s Swenson Street facility, providing acute care for patients, where his philosophy of patient care is to treat the “person with a disease and not a disease in a patient.”
Hospice and palliative medicine is the medical specialty that focuses on improving quality of life and relieving pain and other symptoms in seriously ill patients. Palliative care can and should be provided to patients who continue to receive treatments to try to cure or control their disease, regardless of their prognosis. Hospice is a specific type of palliative care for patients whose life expectancy is likely to be six months or less. Hospice and palliative care also helps patients and families understand their treatment options and make decisions about their care, and provides information on spiritual and psychosocial services, support for family and caregivers and grief counseling.
“This program recognizes key individuals who have been critical in building and shaping our field over the past 25 years,” said Steve R. Smith, AAHPM executive director and CEO. “These individuals represent thousands of other healthcare professionals in this country that provide quality medical care and support for those living with serious illness -- each and every day.”
The Visionaries – 14 women and 16 men – are physicians, nurses and hospice pioneers such as British social worker Cicely Saunders, credited with starting the modern hospice movement, and Elisabeth Kübler Ross, author of numerous books including the groundbreaking “On Death and Dying.” Five elected officials were nominated and one of them, former President Ronald Reagan, was named a Visionary for signing into law the Medicare hospice benefit in 1982.
More information on the Visionaries project, including the list of 30 Visionaries is on the Academy’s website www.aahpm.org.
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) is the professional organization for physicians specializing in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. AAHPM’s 5,000 members also include nurses and other healthcare providers who are committed to improving the quality of life of seriously ill patients and their families. For more than 25 years, the Academy has been dedicated to expanding access of patients and families to high quality palliative care, and advancing the discipline of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, through professional education and training, development of a specialist workforce, support for clinical practice standards, research and public policy. Learn more at www.aahpm.org.
About Nathan Adelson Hospice
Nathan Adelson Hospice, the trusted partner in hospice care for 35 years, is the largest non-profit hospice in Southern Nevada, caring for an average of 400 patients daily. In 1978, Nathan Adelson Hospice began providing home care hospice service in Southern Nevada with the mission to offer patients and their loved ones with comprehensive end-of-life care and influence better care for all in the community. In 1983, Nathan Adelson Hospice opened an in-patient hospice in Las Vegas, and today the hospice is recognized as a national model for superior hospice care. The mission of the hospice is to be the Hospice of Choice, the Employer of Preference and a Training Center of Excellence. Its vision is simple: no one should end the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain. The hospice also is home to The Center for Compassionate Care, a non-profit counseling agency providing individual, group and family counseling services to address grief, loss and issues related to surviving life-threatening illnesses. For more information, visit www.nah.org.