Holston Medical Group’s Medical Director Robert Lee, MD FAAFP, CMD, has successfully completed and received board certification in hospice and palliative medicine, making him one of only a very few physicians in the region to obtain this designation.
Palliative care is a medical specialty that addresses the “total pain and suffering” of chronic and terminal disease states while working in collaboration with other specialties. Serving as an alternative to the traditional “diagnose-and-treat” model of care, palliative medicine provides holistic care and support to patients and their loved ones by helping manage, preventing and alleviating unnecessary suffering and improving their quality of life.
Although hospice is a part of palliative care, hospice is for end-stages when death is expected within a specified time frame. Palliative care, on the other hand, focuses on the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual suffering of patients and their families and serves people of any age in any stage of their illness.
“Palliative care is all about the patient’s comfort,” says Lee. “As a doctor, knowing the totality of a particular patient’s prognosis, I sit down with the patient and his or her family to walk them through whatever may be truly best for the patient. For instance, a patient with advanced dementia may not want to go through the battery of tests and treatment associated with a secondary leukemia diagnosis. My responsibility is that of listening to the patient, talking with their family and helping them move in a direction that provides the greatest comfort.”
Lee received his doctorate of medicine from the University of Mississippi in Jackson, Miss., and completed his residency at Roanoke Memorial in Roanoke, Va. Additionally, Lee is board certified by the American Board of Family practice, and he has a special interest in geriatrics. Lee has been with HMG since 1982.