James, Wellens earn certifications

04/30/2009

GREEN BAY – Dr. Amy James, an internist at Bellin Health, and Helen Wellens, an advanced practice nurse practitioner at Bellin, were both recently granted certification in Hospice and Palliative Care.

James received board certification in Hospice and Palliative Care from the American Board of Medical Subspecialties. Wellens, a certified genontologic nurse practitioner, is now also an advanced certified Hospice and Palliative Care nurse since being certified by the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses.

The certifications illustrate the growth and increasing importance of palliative care, James said. “This field has grown significantly enough over the last 15 years or so to earn its own medical specialty. By 2010, palliative medicine will become its own residency.”

Palliative Care provides interdisciplinary care aimed at relieving the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual pains that result from a life-limiting illness. The aim of palliative care is to affirm life and help guide decision making with an emphasis on life quality. Hospice services are traditionally offered within the last six months of a patient’s life, whereas palliative care may be appropriate at any stage of the illness.

Bellin Health has offered palliative care since 2007. The health system has done so with the support of Unity, the largest hospice program in Wisconsin. Unity, a not-for-profit organization, was founded and operated through a partnership of Bellin Health, St Mary’s and St. Vincent hospitals.

“Having board certification in the fast growing specialty area certainly lends to the credibility, legitimacy and expertise of our palliative and hospice services,” James said. “At the most basic level, it means that when looking for palliative or hospice-related care, we’re the people best certified to do that for you or a loved one.

“Our newly earned certifications help further validate our qualifications and collective knowledge in the specialized area of hospice and palliative care,” Wellens added. “The certification also illustrates our ability to offer nationally recognized, inter-disciplinary, high-quality palliative and hospice care service with higher levels of patient satisfaction.”

For more information about Bellin’s palliative and hospice services, please call (920) 435-8326 or Unity at (920) 338-1111 or (800) 990-9249.