Palliative care is a type of specialized medical care that focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal of palliative care is to reduce the burden of illness that is experienced by both the patient and the patient’s family from the time of diagnosis onward. Palliative Care offers pain and symptom management as well as emotional and spiritual support to patients who face a debilitating or life-threatening illnesses, including cancer, cardiac disease, lung disease, dementias, kidney failure, and other chronic conditions. The palliative care team does not replace the attending physician, but works as an additional layer of support with the patient’s physician to coordinate care. The Palliative Care Team also works in close collaboration with the hospital social workers and chaplains to help ensure optimum care:
- Pain and non-pain symptom management
- Planning for the future
- Information and resources
- Assistance with important decisions focusing on improving quality of life, improved communication and explanations of treatment choices
Typical concerns addressed by palliative care include pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, delirium, constipation, difficulty breathing (dyspnea), fatigue and insomnia. In addition to pain management, palliative care can involve discussing the patient’s prognosis and goals of care, treatment options or diagnostic interventions, advanced care planning, and bereavement support. The Palliative Care team also:
- Helps patients gain the strength to carry on with daily life.
- Improves the patient's ability to tolerate medical treatments.
- Helps patients have more control over their care by helping them better understand their choices for treatment options.
Referrals for palliative care must be made by a physician caring for the hospitalized patient; however, requests for information may come from physicians, patients, family members, clergy and other members of the health care team.
Palliative Care Team
Our CHI Health Palliative Care Team has the knowledge and expertise of our board-certified physician and nurse practitioners to ensure patients feel comfortable. We address any concerns as we create a customized treatment that works best. Our goal is to help patients live more comfortably.