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History

In 2004 the Palliative Care Unit was created in this public hospital with a long tradition in Medical Oncology and from that time both groups started to work together. Oncology and palliative care merged into one Service: Oncología y Cuidados Paliativos.

Profile   

  • 200 inpatient beds
  • 170 full time doctors
  • 270 full time staff of nurses, paramedics, technicians, administrative workers
  • All  services
  • Teaching of graduate and post-graduate courses

Specialities

The hospital offers all the specialities. They are organized under different departments (Surgery, Internal Medicine, Research, Emergency and Central department). The Oncology and Palliative Care Service, is part of the Department of Internal Medicine. Radiotherapy is located outside, in a different centre near the hospital.

Palliative and supportive care

The Oncology and Palliative Care service is integrated by 19 members (5 oncologists, 5 nurses, 2 psycho-oncologists, 5 palliative care physicians and 2 secretaries). It mainly assists cancer patients, but also patients with other life-limiting chronic diseases.

Most of the patients are from the city of Vicente López in the province of Buenos Aires, and some are from its surroundings due to the lack of Oncology and Palliative Care Services in the nearby cities. A large part of the assisted population does not usually have health insurance and belongs to the lowest social class.

The service is located within the "Vicente López Municipal Hospital, BA HOUSSAY" and has 6 offices, 1 space to perform minimally invasive procedures in palliative care or for temporary permanence, and a "day hospital", where specific oncological treatments are provided. The service operates during the day, from 7 am to 6 pm.

Young oncologists and training physicians in palliative care, general family practice, and internal medicine attend each year to improve their knowledge and skills. We also received scholarship holders in specific training for Palliative Care, from the National Cancer Institute of the Ministry of Health of the Nation. The centre is linked to the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

Since the declaration of the pandemic by covid-19, we kept the service in permanent operation.

We converted to care by audio-visual devices in the patients that were possible, and we continue to attend in the usual way to the patients that it was not possible to provide remote care.

We continue to receive first-time referrals of newly diagnosed patients and inpatient evaluations.

We participate in the implementation of palliative care protocols in patients with COVID-19 infection (symptom control, decision-making, and palliative sedation) and protocols for humanized visits of relatives to patients affected by COVID-19 at the end of life.

Last update: December 2020

Hospital B. Houssay, Servicio de Oncología y Cuidados Paliativos, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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