Palliative Care is a medical specialty that provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary care for patients with serious illnesses and their families with emphasis upon the quality of life and relief of suffering. Palliative Care is provided throughout the trajectory of a disease process without regard to prognosis and can be provided in concert with curative care, as well as near end of life. The Palliative Care team works with patients in conjunction with their primary care physician to address any physical, psychosocial, emotional or spiritual issues the patient may experience.
Goals and Criteria
The goals of Palliative Care focus on:
- Treating complex pain and symptoms
- Handling intensive patient-family communication regarding the patient's condition, goals for care and treatment options presented by their physician
- Supporting the physician's plan of care by making the patient as comfortable as possible at all stages of their illness - before, during and after curative or life-prolonging care.
Palliative Care Admission:
- The patient has a complex, life-limiting condition and will benefit from coordinated decision-making between disciplines and across care settings
- The patient requires assistance with relief of pain or other symptoms such as nausea, anxiety or shortness of breath
- The patient would benefit from case management at home to ensure that the level of services they receive meets their care needs, such as home health care or hospice
Frequently Asked Questions
Who benefits from Palliative Care?
People living with cancer, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, COPD, ALS and other life-threatening condition. Also, individuals who feel their quality of life has been compromised by symptoms such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and fatigue.
Does referral for Palliative Care mean I am dying?
No. Research shows that Palliative Care can help people live longer by reducing the pain and stress a serious illness may cause. Being referred for a Palliative Care consultation does mean that you are dealing with difficult medical problems - ones that cause pain and discomfort, emotional uncertainty and personal complications for you and your loved ones.
Do I need to stop curative or life-prolonging care to receive Palliative Care?
No. The Palliative Care team works in partnership with your primary physician in obtaining the best possible outcome for your care. We're eager to meet with you and your family to learn what matters most and how we can help as you identify and communicate your personal goals for your medical care.
Who pays for Palliative Care?
Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the cost of Palliative Care. If you have a Medicare supplement, it will cover the remaining 20 percent. Most private insurances will cover Palliative Care 3.