Palliative Medicine Team

Melinda McMinn, MD – Medical Director
Dr. McMinn is board certified in both Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She completed her medical school training at SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1996 and her residency training at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in 1999. Dr. McMinn has worked as a family doctor, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine teaching residents and medical students and as an Assistant Medical Director for Hospice of CNY. Dr. McMinn provides leadership, consultation and guidance for the physicians and professional staff at Crouse Hospital related to Palliative Medicine; the administrative and medical management of serious illness; and end-of-life issues. She helps to provide direction for the Palliative Medicine Nurse Practitioners and Social Workers and collaborates with various specialists throughout the community to improve patient care across the continuum.

Kelly Wheeler, MS FNP – Nurse Practitioner
A full-time, master’s prepared, nationally certified family nurse practitioner, Kelly Wheeler provides leadership, consultation and guidance for the providers at Crouse Hospital related to the medical and nursing management of advanced illness, Palliative Medicine and end-of-life issues. She helps clarify the implications of medical diagnosis and provides direction for the Palliative Medicine Social Worker, Palliative medicine volunteers and Spiritual Care services.

Cindi Besio, MSW – Social Worker
Cindi Besio offers supportive counseling for patients, relatives and friends to reduce emotional suffering and enhance the ability to cope with advanced illness and end-of-life issues. She identifies and explores the factors that influence a patient and family and provides a support system for those facing grief and loss, including anticipatory grief. Our social worker conducts individual and family counseling with appropriate interventions and referrals. She facilitates communication between patients, families, caregivers and health care providers.

Kathleen Steinmann, RN, MS, ANP – Administrator
Provides oversight for the Advanced Illness/Palliative Care Service.

Palliative Medicine Volunteers
Volunteers participate in a Crouse Hospital educational program administered by the Volunteer Services and Spiritual Care department. Our volunteers work in collaboration with members of the Palliative Medicine team. Community volunteers knit or crochet beautiful blankets, called lap robes, which are distributed to patients and serve as a memento for family members.

Spiritual Care
Spiritual Care services are provided at the request of the team members. Appropriate clergy provides for the needs of the patients and families. Chaplains are available for consultation on medical ethics, religious practices, advance directives and end-of-life issues.