What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative care, or supportive care, is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
Improves Quality of Life
Palliative care treats people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more. Palliative care focuses on symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and depression. It also helps you gain the strength to carry on with daily life. It improves your ability to tolerate medical treatments, and it helps you have more control over your care by improving communication so that you can better understand your choices for treatment.
A Partnership of Patient, Specialists, and Family
Palliative care is a team approach to care. The team consists of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, and support staff of social workers and chaplains, as needed. We collaborate with other disciplines as needed to maximize your care.
Our team spends as much time as necessary with you and your family. We become a partner with you, your family and your other doctors. We support you and your family every step of the way, not only by controlling your symptoms, but also by helping you to understand your treatment options and goals. Working together with your primary doctor, our palliative care team provides:
- Close communication
- Expert management of pain and other symptoms
- Help navigating the healthcare system
- Guidance with difficult and complex treatment choices
- Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family
How do I get Palliative Care and how is it paid for?
To receive help from our palliative care team, you can ask your doctor for a referral. We provide you with assistance either in the hospital or outpatient clinic. Our hospital services and outpatient programs are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and many insurance plans.