Palliative Care and Hospice are similar in many ways. Hospice care follows the guidelines of the Medicare Hospice benefit. It is available to patients during the last six months of their life. Patients receive Hospice care at home, in a hospital, or in a residential nursing facility. Palliative care may begin much earlier than the last six months of life, often while a patient continues to receive treatment for a disease.
Care is provided to patients specifically coping with a life-limiting injury, facing all stages of serious illness, or facing complex medical decisions. It often focuses on pain and symptom management and includes important elements of care including the psychological, spiritual, and social aspects of life. Palliative care provides support to people who are looking at quality of life, irregardless of how short that life may be, adjusting to new physical limits, finding meaning and hope during illness, and understanding and coping with family issues. It is always individualized and based on the values and goals of our patients, their families, and expert medical opinion.
The Palliative Care team can also be of assistance to patients and their families with chronic illnesses such as non-curative cancers and advanced, end-stage illnesses (such as COPD, heart failure, AIDS, Parkinson's, and many more), and those who are in the Intensive Care Unit or need acute or chronic pain management. The Palliative Care team can help:
- Manage pain and other symptoms
- With making choices regarding end-of-life care
- With choices regarding withholding continued invasive procedures from patients have have no potential cure for their condition
- Offer a support system for the patient and family during the patient's illness and help deal with suffering, spiritual distress and loss of hope
Palliative Care is provided at the same time as all other medical treatments and is designed to facilitate coordination of care and patient access to information. The Palliative Care practice currently consists of board-certified Palliative Care physicians, including a medical director, nurse practitioners, licensed clinical social workers, as well as spiritual care and administrative support teams.
For more information, please call 889-CARE (2273).