Sharona Sachs, MD
I speak: English
My gender: Female
Where I practice
I have been in practice for more than 20 years, first as an academic pulmonologist/intensive care specialist, and then, after additional specialty training, in palliative care. Over that time, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and communication with other medical providers and with patients and families to collectively determine and provide care that is both medically excellent and aligned with each patient and family’s individual goals. Providing the ongoing expert communication that allows patients and their loved ones to understand their health status and care options with clarity, and choose care that honors their preferences, empowers people facing chronic, serious and progressive illness to achieve the outcomes most important to them. How to deliver such care, and how to teach others to do so, has been my dominant focus in my career as a teacher and as a physician. Joining Colorado Permanente Medical Group has provided an exciting opportunity to continue to practice and teach these principles while at the same time practicing in an integrated health system that has been built around honoring this philosophy of care.
About my practice
I chose to subspecialize in palliative and supportive care because of my growing awareness of the importance of effective communication in helping people navigate serious and critical illness with the least amount of physical and emotional distress and confusion possible. When patients and their loved ones receive a diagnosis of a serious and life-changing medical problem, or are thrust into the crisis of critical illness, the experience can be extremely traumatic — a bit like landing unexpectedly in a foreign country in which you don’t know the language or the landscape, and yet immediately face decisions that are critical. Palliative and supportive care teams provide multiple avenues of specialty knowledge — medical symptom management, communication expertise, and social work, nurse, and chaplaincy interventions — all geared to minimize the suffering associated with serious illness. Working within that framework of expertise to support patients and families in their emotional experience, help people to understand their medical condition and what they can realistically expect from each medical treatment choice offered, and minimize the symptoms associated with illness provides people with the tools to live as well as possible with their illness. My primary goal is to understand each person’s priorities and assure that they understand their medical options so that they can choose care that will provide what they want and expect at every stage of their disease process. I work primarily in the hospital and intensive care settings with both patients and their families and loved ones.
How I thrive
In addition to the tremendous satisfaction that I derive from my work and my collaboration with my colleagues, I enjoy time with family and friends, cooking (Indian, Mediterranean, Italian and French cuisines), baking, trolling local farmer’s markets, and walking in all of the beautiful spaces — urban and rural — that Colorado provides. Although I don’t make music, I love listening to folk, blues and jazz, both live and recorded, and have been known to travel all over the country to seek out favorite performers when time allows.