What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is specialized medical care that focuses on relief of the symptoms and stress of serious illness. The goal is to prevent and ease suffering and to improve quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and any stage of an illness, and it can be provided at the same time as curative treatment.
Who is eligible for Palliative Care?
Palliative care is appropriate for anyone diagnosed with progressive and/or chronic life-limiting illness such as:
- Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Kidney or Liver Failure
- Chronic Neurologic Disorders
- Advanced age and inability to care for oneself any longer
- Multiple Health Problems
What can Palliative Care do for me?
You can expect relief from symptoms such as:
- Shortness of Breath
- Loss of Appetite
- Difficulty Sleeping
Who provides Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is provided by an experienced team of professionals including a Palliative Medicine Physician, Social Worker and Chaplain.
What about my regular doctor?
The Palliative Care team works with your doctor to provide an extra layer of support for you and your family. Palliative Care can be provided along with aggressive medical treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments your doctor may be recommending.
Help with care planning - The Palliative Care team can help you and your loved ones make complex decisions and help you determine the goals of your care. We can help with decisions about:
- Treatment options such as chemotherapy, surgery, artificial nutrition, dialysis, radiation therapy, pain medication, etc.
- Advanced directives such as CPR and ventilation support.
- Medical Power of Attorney
How do I get connected to the Palliative Care team?
Ask your physician of nurse about requesting a consult for Palliative Care. Your medical team will write an order and a member of the Palliative Care team will then meet with you and your family to explore how we can assist.
Palliative Care can help if:
- Your pain and symptoms are preventing you from enjoying your life.
- You are uncertain about your treatment options and what you might expect.
- You are spending more time in the hospital than at home.
- You feel like you are losing control of your life because of your illness.
- You feel like you are becoming a burden to your family and friends because of your illness.
- You need help putting a plan in place for when you are no longer able to care for yourself or make your own medical decisions.
- Your family could use extra support to see you through your illness.
- You are not sure what you doctor would think if you wanted to stop treating your illness aggressively.
We hope to relieve pain, increase comfort and improve quality of life—however that is individually defined. We will offer insight, compassion and support in weighing the risks and benefits of treatment options so patients and their families can make informed decisions which are in alignment with their own individual, cultural, spiritual and social values.