In 2021, Ohio’s Hospice and Kettering Health’s Soin Medical Center began a Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Hiep Luu and Dr. Janna Quiling, who both completed family residencies at Kettering Health Dayton (formerly Grandview Medical Center) in Dayton, were the first fellows of the new program. During the past year, they trained to become compassionate clinicians who are prepared to care for patients at all stages of complex illness and end-of-life care.
“Dr. Luu and Dr. Quiling are quickly becoming experts at helping patients find their way amongst complex illnesses and navigating the many choices they face,” said Dr. Cleanne Cass, DO, FAAFP, FAAHPM, program director of the fellowship and director of community services and physician education at Ohio’s Hospice. “Hospice care is provided as a team. Through the fellowship, we are training them to be the physician leader of the team, how to communicate with and support each member of the team.”
Dr. Quiling said she learned about the fellowship at a family medicine conference she attended where Dr. Cass spoke about the grief physicians face when patients die.
“Hearing her talk, I just was so drawn to her and that’s what kind of brought me in to rotate with her more at Ohio’s Hospice and eventually apply for the fellowship,” Dr. Quiling said. “I think you must have compassion for patients who are facing the end-of-life. I enjoy being the physician during that special time to give patients what they need and help them. To me, it was a calling to join this group and to be in hospice and to give back in that way.”
Dr. Luu said he has learned so much about hospice and palliative medicine throughout the fellowship, but even more about engaging with patients and families during hard times in their lives.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is to always be honest and present with families,” Dr. Luu said. “Families and patients appreciate you being honest, admitting if you’re not sure about something but helping to find an answer.”
Having already completed residencies, Dr. Luu and Dr. Quiling are licensed physicians and graduated from family medicine programs. The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for specialized training on the management of complications from diseases rather than curing diseases.
“I enjoy being able to spend time with patients and learn their stories and goals and help them through the hard times,” Dr. Luu said. “ Seeing them in less pain and having their symptoms better controlled to allow them more time with their loved ones is very rewarding.”
The first year of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Ohio’s Hospice has developed a program highlighting the values of healthy lifestyles, presence, mindfulness, and the art of caring for each other as techniques for helping patients as well as each other.
“Dr. Luu and Dr. Quiling are wonderful people and have been instrumental in getting this fellowship established,” Dr. Cass said. “They knew coming on board that they were our first fellows, and we would not be where we are with this program without them.”
The fellowship is divided into 13 blocks providing dedicated time to focus on home care, inpatient unit care, hospital consultations, oncology training, and pediatric palliative care. In addition, the fellows conduct clinical research throughout the year and spend one morning a week for the year at an ambulatory clinic and one day at a geriatric clinic. During the second half of the year, medical students and residents who rotate through Ohio’s Hospice are assigned to each of the fellows. In this way, they further their own education as they teach the next generation of practitioners, promoting the ideology and approach to medicine that is unique to hospice and palliative care.
“Hospice and palliative medicine brings together medical professionals with the same passion for caring for patients and their families,” Dr. Luu said. “The experience is what I expected it to be, and I have felt supported through everything. It has been a meaningful and rewarding experience. It can be tough, but it’s made me a better physician and person.”
To learn more about the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program, click here.