SUMMIT, NJ - Established nearly to decades ago by John Gregory, MD, a renowned cardiologist and champion of bioethics and palliative care, the palliative care team at Overlook Medical Center includes a dedicated palliative care physician medical director, two advanced care nurse practitioners, a social worker, an administrative assistant and a chaplain. The program, the goal of which is to improve the quality of life for both patient and family, has grown from 60 consults a year to about 1,000 patients and families in the hospital setting and 135 new oncology patients in their practice annually.

The palliative care team at Overlook provides comprehensive, compassionate and coordinated patient and family-centered care at any stage of the patient’s illness. Published literature reports the positive impact of hospital-based palliative care teams on improving a patient’s symptoms such as pain, relieving caregiver distress, and empowering patients and families with increased knowledge of their disease. Palliative care clinicians also advocate for alignment of medical care with the individual goals of patients and their caregivers. Overlook’s team includes support from a certified palliative care chaplain, one of only about 30 in the nation.

Recently, representatives from Investors Bank, including Chief Executive Officer Kevin Cummings, presented the Overlook Foundation with a check for $10,000, and got to hear directly from members of Overlook Medical Center’s palliative care team how the bank’s donation is bringing comfort and care to hundreds of patients and their families each year.

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“It is a cultural norm here to provide care and support not just to patients, but also to families,” Clelia Biamonti, executive director of the Overlook Foundation, told the bank officials during the presentation at the hospital. “Your generous support for this program is greatly appreciated, and we thank you for being part of this.”

Thanks, in part, to the support of Investors Bank, seriously ill patients at Overlook Medical Center now receive specialized palliative care from an interdisciplinary care team whose focus is to relieve the physical, spiritual and psychosocial distress of patients and families facing a serious, often life limiting, illness.

The palliative care program at Overlook, like many other programs across the country, relies on philanthropy to offset significant gaps in medical insurance payments. In 2015, the Overlook Foundation embarked on a $2.5 million campaign to increase the endowment for palliative care to meet growing demand and provide these essential services to all patients and families with non-curative and life-limiting illness. Investors Foundation pledged $50,000 toward this goal, and Thursday’s donation represents the third and final installment of that pledge.

Cummings, along with Investors Bank’s director of business development, Joe Stefans, and Janine Grieco, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager of the Summit location, listened to examples of patients and family members helped by the palliative care program, told by Rashmi Kaura, MD, medical director of palliative care.

“Overlook does an amazing job helping families while they are going through a tough time,” Cummings said. “This is the right thing to do and that’s what Investors Bank tries to do day in and day out.