UnityPoint Health - Meriter offers the services of a Palliative Care Team whose goal is to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for patients with incurable or life-limiting illness, and their families. While it serves mainly on a consultative level, the team is available to assist in managing patients.
Patients don't need to be at the end of life to benefit from palliative care services. They may still request curative treatments and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Why does UnityPoint Health - Meriter offer palliative care services?
In the absence of clarity regarding prognosis and treatment goals in patients with life-limiting illness, the care plan often followed can lead to costly, challenging and prolonged hospital stays while attempting curative treatment. By providing humane, ethical treatment that addresses distressing physical and emotional symptoms such as pain, dyspnea and anxiety, our Palliative Care Team assists patients in living out their days with the highest quality possible.
As our country's population ages and the number of people living with complex, advanced illnesses continues to grow, we experience an increased need for palliative care. Currently, one in four hospitals in the United States report having an active palliative care program. By improving patient outcomes and meeting quality standards on pain and other issues, palliative care programs help hospitals maintain Joint Commission quality and pain standards.
Which patients would be appropriate for a Palliative Care Team referral?
- Patients diagnosed with incurable illnesses who are struggling with:
- Unremitting symptoms such as pain, nausea, anxiety or dyspnea
- Spiritual or emotional distress
- Lack of clarity regarding prognosis and goals of treatment
- Support concerns and disposition issues
- Patients with malignant disease not responding to curative therapies
- Patients with multi-organ system failure not responding to aggressive care
- Elderly patients with multiple medical problems, frequent hospitalizations, poor functional status and poor quality of life
- Patients with advanced congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
What are the goals of the Palliative Care Team?
- Improve patients outcomes through expert symptom control.
- Facilitate discussion and decision-making regarding goals of treatment among patients, families, and their primary care providers.
- Provide comprehensive emotional and spiritual support in a culturally sensitive manner as patients near death.
- Assist in transitions to appropriate post-hospital care settings.
- Minimize the unnecessary use of testing and treatments that won't benefit the patient.
Online Resources for Palliative Care
Mission Statement: Our Mission is to create welcoming communities of free support for everyone living with cancer -- men, women, teens and children -- along with their families and friends. Our innovative program is an essential complement to medical care, providing networking and support groups, workshops, education and social activities.
Palliative Care at UnityPoint Health - Meriter is made possible through a grant from the UnityPoint Health - Meriter Foundation.