Sam W. Downing, M.D., is the new director of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine for Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group (formerly YRMC PhysicianCare). The clinic, which serves the entire Quad Cities, is located at:
Dignity Health – Yavapai Regional
Medical Group, Palliative Medicine
802 Ainsworth, Suite C
Prescott, Arizona 86301
Even though Yavapai Regional Medical Group, Palliative Medicine is located in Prescott, many Palliative Medicine appointments occur in the community. From Dr. Downing’s perspective, this “we-meet-you-where-you-are” approach to medical care is one of the strengths of Palliative Medicine.
“Our team sees patients in the Palliative Medicine Clinic, care centers and private homes,” said Downing. “That’s an advantage to some people who may be homebound or who are concerned about going out into the community during a pandemic.”
The team Downing oversees includes physicians, physician assistants, a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse and a social worker. All of these caregivers are experts at managing the complexities of living with a serious illness.
Downing describes Palliative Medicine as complementary to an individual’s primary care. The Palliative Medicine team cares for people with advanced illness, life-limiting illness, complex conditions or chronic disease.
“Palliative Medicine is an added layer of support,” Downing explained. “We’re not designed to replace the treatment and care someone is currently receiving. Much of what we do is help patients understand their choices and options. We also support them as they define their priorities for their medical care.”
Downing is an expert in all of the above. He is board certified by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians. He has had a 30-year relationship with YRMC, joining the community after completing a Family Practice residency at Phoenix Baptist Hospital. He earned his medical degree from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.
Sharing his expertise with the community is a priority for Downing. He serves on the Board of Directors of Northland Cares, an outpatient services organization for people living with HIV/AIDS. Downing also speaks frequently to audiences about age-related issues.
Downing’s experience is in demand as Yavapai Regional Medical Group is in the process of developing a Geriatric Assessment Clinic. Scheduled to open in 2021, the self-referral program will feature comprehensive assessments for people concerned about cognitive impairment and memory disorders.
“This is exciting news for the people of our community who may be worried about their own, or a loved one’s, cognitive decline,” said Downing. “The Geriatric Assessment Clinic will include a four-hour, multi-disciplinary evaluation followed by specific recommendations on how to prevent further cognitive decline. Down the road, a complementary support program will address the needs of patients and their families who are dealing with cognitive challenges.” QCBN
By Bridget O’Gara
For more information about Yavapai Regional Medical Group, Palliative Medicine, talk to your primary care provider, visit DignityHealth.org/YRMG, or call 928-775-5567.
Bridget O’Gara is a writer, communications strategist and project manager who specializes in health care. She works with mission-driven healthcare organizations, including hospitals, other healthcare providers and advocacy organizations.