UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the benefit of Palliative Care?

The healthcare system can be complex with multiple physicians attending to your healthcare needs. The Palliative Care team assists with the communication between many specialists to ensure your goals and desires for care are heard. We help you and your family cope with issues that can be quite complex.

When is the right time for Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is appropriate whenever there is a serious or chronic illness such as:

  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cancer
  • Liver disease

Where services are provided?

Services are provided in the hospital or where you currently live, depending on your need. The goal of the Palliative Care team is to stay with you wherever you reside to help express your goals and plan of care.

Who makes up the Palliative Care Team?

Our team consists of board certified physicians and nurse practitioners along with nurses and a chaplain/counselor with expertise in palliative care. This team collaborates with social workers, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians as well as care managers to coordinate care.

What can I expect with a Palliative Care consult?

Palliative Care team members will meet with you to assess your needs. They will assess you physically, identifying the potential need for treatment of symptoms including:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety Depression

The Palliative Care team members will listen to concerns that you or your family might have, such as:

  • What are my goals?
  • What do I want at this time in my life, knowing I have these medical conditions?
  • Is this treatment plan too burdensome for me and my family?

The Palliative Care team is also available to discuss planning for your future healthcare needs and documentation of your healthcare wishes. Assistance with the process of completing a Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney and other advance directives is available, if desired.

What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?

Palliative Care is appropriate at any stage of a serious or chronic illness. You do not have to be terminally ill. Hospice care is meant specifically for those approaching the end of life that have been given a prognosis of six months or less to live.

How can I get Palliative Care services?

Speak to your physician to ask for a referral to Palliative Care.

Where can I find more resources about Palliative Care?

  • http://www.getpalliativecare.org/
  • http://www.agingwithdignity.org/
  • http://www.caringinfo.org/
  • http://www.palliativedoctors.or