CENTRE COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — Geisinger is bringing its palliative medicine program to Centre County thanks to the work done by Nicki Vithalani, M.D.

Dr. Vithalani, with the help of Melissa Lightner, CRNP, helped expand the palliative medicine program to Centre County. Providers are now seeing patients at both the Geisinger Scenery Park and the Geisinger 65 Foward State College.

Palliative medicine is needed to care for patients with serious illnesses such as cancer, dementia, ALS or a progressive or serious illness that affects the quality of life.

“Our inpatient service was steadily growing, and the outpatient clinic was thriving too, and then the pandemic hit,” Dr. Vithalani said. “When everything shut down, we switched much of our clinic to virtual care. I think the pandemic highlighted how important our field is it’s crucial to know someone’s wishes during times they cannot speak for themselves. By meeting with patients and families, we can discuss what type of care someone would or wouldn’t desire.”

Additionally, palliative medicine adds an extra layer of support for those who are facing life-threatening illnesses and is a service that can complement ongoing treatments that patients might be going through.

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To learn more about palliative medicine, visit Geisinger’s online website or call 717-242-7297