Select Hospice & Palliative Care
When you face a serious illness, you may need the following:
- Symptom management
- To achieve a sense of control
- To relieve burdens on your family
- To avoid prolonged suffering
- Input into medical decisions related to your goals of care
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative (PAL-e-a-tiv) Care is provided by a team of professionals dedicated to relieving suffering and improving quality of life for patients and families affected by serious illness. Palliative Care is offered along with all other appropriate medical treatments. The focus is on the needs of the patient, whether those needs concern pain and symptom control, counseling, spiritual needs or coordinating links to other community services.
Palliative Care services are offered in the hospital, at the Palliative Care Outpatient Clinic, in select skilled nursing or assisted living facilities, or via medicine. Below is a patient skit that provides an example of how a palliative care visit might occur.
What is the difference between Palliative Care and Hospice?
Palliative Care focuses on relieving suffering and improving quality of life in any stage of a progressive illness. Hospice Care focuses on similar issues, but includes patients who are no longer seeking aggressive life-prolonging medical therapies and where the prognosis is less than six months.
Studies show that Palliative Care programs:
- Control pain and distressing symptoms
- Support the review of goals of care and difficult decision-making
- Improve quality of life and satisfaction for patients and their families
- Ease burdens on providers and caregivers
- Ease the transition to more appropriate care settings
The Palliative Care Team
Recognizing the need to offer Palliative Care to its patients, FirstHealth has organized a Palliative Care Consultation Team to assist physicians in the management of their patients with chronic or serious illness. Comprising the specialty-trained team are:
- Palliative Medicine Certified Physicians
- Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner
- Social Workers
- Patient Representatives
All are available to work with physicians, patients and families on an individual basis in the hospital or outpatient setting.
Our team will:
- Address the medical, psycho-social and spiritual needs of the patient and his/her family
- Educate the patient and family about the expected disease progression and prognosis
- Support with developing a plan of care including assistance with decisions related to future medical treatments
- Facilitate communication between health care providers and the patient/family
- Coordinate services with other agencies, including long-term care, home health, hospice and rehabilitation.
Below is an example of how a member of the Palliative Care team might work with the family member of a cancer patient.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of conditions can be helped by Palliative Care?
All chronic or serious illnesses including patients with cancer, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease, and many more.
When is it appropriate to consider Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is best introduced soon after diagnosis of a progressive or life-threatening illness. Palliative Care is available to help patients and their families throughout the course of the illness in conjunction with aggressive medical therapy.
How can patients request Palliative Care?
Patients or family members can request a referral to FirstHealth Palliative Care by contacting their physician.
See another example of how Palliative Care could impact the life of someone dealing with COPD.