For meeting standards to provide high-quality patient care, University of Virginia Health System has been designated a National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) Center for the treatment of pancreatitis. UVA is the only NPF Pancreatitis Center in Virginia.
Pancreatitis affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Acute pancreatitis, often caused by gallstones, can lead to three to five days of intense pain and often requires hospitalization. Patients with chronic pancreatitis – caused by a variety of factors, including gene mutations and heavy alcohol use – must deal with chronic pain and malnutrition caused by the body’s inability to digest food. Chronic pancreatitis can also lead to diabetes.
According to the foundation, NPF Centers “focus on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatitis, treating the ‘whole patient’ with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.”
To become an NPF Center, UVA underwent an extensive audit of its care and demonstrated that it meets criteria developed by patient advocates and pancreatitis experts, including:
A multidisciplinary care team that includes gastroenterologists, pathologists and interventional radiologists that specialize in gastroenterology as well as pancreas surgeons Patient-focused services such as pain management, dieticians and psychosocial support Access to clinical trials for pancreatitis
NPF Centers also seek to advance research and lead the way for heightened awareness and understanding of pancreatitis and related conditions, according to the foundation.
Daniel Strand, MD , the director of UVA’s NPF Center, said UVA’s team of pancreatitis care providers is honored to receive the designation.
“Designation by the National Pancreas Foundation as a center for pancreatitis care is a significant accomplishment,” he said. “Inclusion amongst its centers is clear recognition of the consistent, high-quality multidisciplinary care that we provide for patients with this very difficult disease.”