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Palliative Care

Palliative medicine is specialized medical care meant to relieve the symptoms or problems caused by progressive diseases. Although this type of care was once more commonly associated with end of life, the goal of palliative care is to relieve physical, emotional and practical concerns at all stages of illness. It focuses on comfort and quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative medicine is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other 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.

Our team will make a comprehensive assessment of patient’s ailments and recommend a course of action in line with patient’s and family’s goals. We strive to improve quality of life for both patient and the family by anticipating, preventing and relieving suffering.

Palliative Medicine may be helpful to patients suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as:

  • cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • liver disease
  • dementia
  • cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • stroke
  • kidney failure
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Alzheimer’s

Palliative care also can help with:

  • unmanaged pain, trouble breathing or other distressing physical symptoms
  • pain and suffering leading to emotional stress
  • psychosocial and/or spiritual concerns related to illness
  • frequent emergency room visits
  • a need to have more control over your care by understanding your treatment options
  • multiple admissions to the hospital (3 or more within 12 months)  with the same symptoms

 

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Hospice services and palliative care programs share similar goals in providing symptom relief and pain management taking into consideration patients’ and families’ wishes. Both provide tailor made care plans taking into consideration physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The biggest difference between hospice and palliative care is the patient: where they are in their illness especially related to prognosis and their goals/wishes regarding curative treatment.

Palliative care services can be offered to any patient without restriction to disease or prognosis, and can be appropriate for anyone with a serious, complex illness, whether they are expected to recover fully, to live with chronic illness for an extended time, or to experience disease progression.

Hospice care requires for a patient to be certified as having life-limiting-illness with a prognosis of six months to live if the disease follows its usual course. This does not mean, though, that if a patient is still living after six months in hospice he or she will be discharged from the service.