Palliative Care is a specialized form of care that provides symptom relief, comfort and support to individuals living with serious illnesses. Its focus is on easing stress and improving overall quality of life. Palliative care complements the plan of care you are currently receiving from your providers. You can receive palliative care no matter your age, prognosis or whether you’re receiving treatments.
Palliative care has been shown to:
- reduce unwanted, unnecessary and painful treatments or interventions
- increase the ability of patients’ families to cope with and care for a loved one
- improve patient and family satisfaction with care
- improve the patients’ response to treatments
Palliative Care Versus Hospice Care
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. Both provide tailor made care plans taking into consideration physical, emotional and spiritual needs
The Palliative Care Team
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 a 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 the patient and their family by anticipating, preventing and relieving suffering.
Our team can care for your loved one at a hospital, nursing home or other long-term care facility. Patients can be of any age or disease state and hospice services are not limited to the elderly.
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
- Kidney failure
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
Hospice and Palliative Goals: Hospice services and palliative care programs share similar goals in providing symptom relief and pain management taking into consideration patients’ and families’ wishes.
Is Palliative Care Right for Me?: Palliative medicine is specialized medical care meant to relieve the symptoms or problems caused by progressive diseases. 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 care can also 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
- Pain or discomfort
- Trouble Sleeping
- Lack or Loss of appetite
- Shortness of Breath
Who Pays for Palliative Care?
Most insurance plans cover palliative care treatment in full or partially. Palliative care is generally covered under:
- Private insurance
- HMO plans
- Managed care organizations
Palliative Care Eligibility: Palliative Care can be administered by a single physician at any time or stage of an illness. 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 Eligibility: Hospice care requires 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.