Palliative Care at Valley View
For people facing serious or life-threatening illness, palliative care can provide pain relief, holistic support and peace of mind.
Brandy Drake, MD
Brandy Drake, MD is an emergency medicine and hospice and palliative medicine physician, serving patients in Valley View’s Emergency Department and inpatient palliative care service. The new inpatient palliative care service is dedicated to adding an extra layer of support for patients and families dealing with serious and life-threating illness, helping them manage symptoms, navigate the confusing medical system and make difficult decisions.
Originally from Glenwood Springs, Dr. Drake was born at Valley View and graduated from Glenwood Springs High School in 2000 after an exchange year in the Ukraine. From there she attended Carleton College and medical school at the University of Colorado, before eventually returning to her roots at Valley View in 2014.
Dr. Drake began her Masters of Science in Palliative Care at the University of Colorado, and then entered a Community-Based Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship through the University of Colorado Hospital in August of 2020. This fellowship is the first of its kind in the country, and after completing the two-year fellowship, Dr. Drake will test to become a board-certified physician in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Dr. Drake currently divides her time between emergency medicine and palliative medicine, and plans to continue in both capacities. “I truly love both fields,” she says. “I love taking care of patients and families in the throes of emergencies, and when they are facing the daunting path of life-limiting illness. I love the breadth of skills these specialties require.”
Brandy has two children, aged eight and five, and currently lives in Glenwood Springs with them, her partner, and his 11-year-old son. When not working or studying, she enjoys epic dance battles with the kids, drinking good coffee and reading books with her partner (novels and non-fiction mostly, especially memoirs about end-of-life experiences). She also enjoys running and hiking in the woods, as well as “connecting with my amazing tribe of friends both locally and spread across the world!”
Shane Lieberman, MD
Shane Lieberman, MD is a board-certified palliative medicine physician with Palliative Care at Valley View. He came to the medical profession via a circuitous route—Dr. Lieberman started his working life as a CPA right out of college, and eventually went on to earn a master’s degree in German from the University of Colorado. Several years later, he pursued his medical degree there, graduating in 2013. What’s more, throughout all his schooling, Dr. Lieberman enjoyed a long career as a professional musician, leading a jazz-funk sextet known as Liebermonster through years of live performance and two full-length albums. “I still do studio work now here and there,” he says, “when I can find the time!”
Palliative care is a caregiving approach meant to help people with serious, often terminal, illnesses optimize their quality of life. “I’ve been passionate about my chosen field ever since medical school,” he says. “I like the opportunity to treat the whole person, not just their conditions, and to get to know them and their families. We focus intensely on quality of life, and in doing so we get to build relationships with our patients in ways that are very special, very rewarding. I grow to understand their goals and values, which helps to create effective treatment strategies. ”
Dr. Lieberman relocated to the Roaring Fork Valley from Denver with his wife and daughter. They enjoy the outdoors, especially the hiking, biking and skiing the Valley has to offer. They are looking forward to building community here.
Erica Hickey, NP
Erica Hickey is the newest nurse practitioner at Valley View specializing in palliative care. She brings an exciting history of professional experience to the table, garnered in challenging environments from across the globe.
Erica spent over ten years at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, where she served as an emergency room nurse before moving into inpatient palliative care. (Palliative care is supportive care for people living with serious illness, focusing on improving quality of life and honoring patients’ goals and values.) During this period, Erica also worked with Doctors Without Borders and the International Medical Corps to provide humanitarian aid in the Ivory Coast, Chad, and Haiti. “Resources are so hard to come by in some of the places I’ve worked. Just appreciating what we have here at VVH, how lucky we are, is a huge benefit,” says Erica. “Communication can be difficult in other parts of the world, so can access to clean water and basic medical supplies. It makes you so thankful for great resources.”
Erica currently lives in the Eagle River Valley, and has been in the Colorado mountains for the last year and a half. “After spending much of my time in big cities, I love working in such a small, intimate community,” she continues. “We take care of each other, and that’s a nice change of pace. I also love seeing people I know and treat every time I leave the house. Rural Colorado just gives me exactly what I wasn’t getting elsewhere.”
She enjoys various outdoor activities, but fishing is her recreational passion. In fact, since 2018, she has written a handful of creative non-fiction articles on her fly fishing experiences, publishing in TROUT Magazine, Anglers Journal, and on her personal blog, Waterwritten.com.
Lauren Martin, M.Div., BCCC
Lauren Martin is a board-certified clinical chaplain at Valley View. He has been a Valley View chaplain for 18 years, the last six of which as the spiritual care coordinator chaplain, overseeing a team of PRN board-certified chaplains. He now also joins the palliative care team at Valley View, caring for patients and their families facing multiple challenges with one or more serious illnesses.
To become a board-certified chaplain, Lauren received specialized healthcare training though clinical pastoral education, including 1,600 hours of hands-on, clinical and academic education combining human personality, theology, education and psychotherapy. He also holds a certificate of palliative care chaplaincy. As a chaplain, Lauren specializes in caring for aspects of personhood and personal being that can’t be treated with a band aid or a pill. He listens, provides supportive companionship when necessary and helps connect or reconnect patients and families with their spiritual resources or sacred spaces. In his role as a palliative care chaplain, he offers spiritual, emotional and relational support to patients and their family who are facing multiple challenges with one or more serious illnesses.
When asked why he does what he does, Lauren says, “What I get to do is very exciting, rewarding and meaningful as patients figure out their life goals and prioritize their values for life, family and sometimes faith.” In his free time, Lauren has many passions including: riding his bike, hiking, practicing outdoor survival skills, gardening, reading, playing his djembe drum in church, and roasting coffee beans.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care, and the medical specialty of Palliative Medicine, is specialized medical care that provides relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It does not replace your primary treatment; palliative care works together with the primary treatment you’re receiving. The goal is to prevent and ease suffering and improve quality of life for both you and your family. It is about caring for the patient, not just treating the disease.
How do you know if you need palliative care?
Many people living with serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, among others, experience physical symptoms and emotional distress related to their diseases. Sometimes these symptoms are due to the medical treatments they are receiving.
Palliative Care services you can expect
- Relief from symptoms including pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, numbness, problems with sleep and much more
- In-depth communication with you and your family about your goals, your concerns and your treatment options—and how to match your goals with those options
- Coordination of your care among all your health care providers
- Improved ability to tolerate medical treatments and the side effects of the disease
- Improved ability to carry on with daily life
- Emotional, practical, and spiritual support for you and your family
Begin palliative care early.
Palliative care occurs at the same time as all other treatments for your illness. There’s absolutely no reason to wait. In fact, some studies have shown that palliative care may extend life. Pain and other symptoms affect your quality of life, and stress can have a big impact on you and your family. The palliative care team can help.
Your insurance will cover palliative care.
Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care. It is handled like other medical services, such as oncology or cardiology.
Appointments are by referral only. You may already have been referred to the palliative care team, but if not, you can ask your doctor for a referral. We work together with your primary doctor and health care team.
For more information, call the palliative care team at 970.384.4220. We welcome questions from patients and family members.
Hours and Location
Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic:
Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In-Patient Palliative Care Services:
Available by request. Please ask your hospital-based provider for more information.
Parking is available in the upper patient parking area.
Valley View Hospital | 1830 Blake Avenue, Ste. 209 | Glenwood Springs CO, 81601