What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care prevents and relieves suffering and provides support focused on achieving the highest quality of life for patients and their families, regardless of the stage of the disease or the need for other therapies. It is both a philosophy of care and an organized, highly structured system for delivering care.  Palliative Care expands the traditional disease-model medical treatments to include the goals of enhancing quality of life, optimizing function, helping with decision making and providing opportunities for personal growth for patients and their families.

Anyone diagnosed with a serious illness may be eligible for Palliative Care to help cope with distressing or painful symptoms. The goal of Palliative Care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and family.  Palliative care might benefit you or your loved one if you are experiencing the following:

  • Two or three hospital admissions in the previous year
  • Diagnosis of a chronic disease
  • The need for disease and symptom management – avoiding acute crisis and intervention
  • A goal of living well and avoiding hospitalization
  • Seeking assurance that primary physician follow-up visits are made post hospitalization and throughout the illness
  • A desire for 24/7 phone support for questions and concerns

Palliative Care follows a patient-centered philosophy. A dedicated team, working in partnership with your own doctor provides an extra layer of support to you and your family. The team consists of a nurse practitioner, RN case manager, medical social worker, grief/bereavement counselor and other specialists, as determined by your specific needs.

In addition to expert symptom management, the Palliative Care Team provides help navigating the health system and the emotional support you and your family may need to cope with changes brought on by the illness.

Who is Eligible for Palliative Care?

  • Patients of any age, facing a serious illness who may be receiving curative treatment including chemotherapy, radiation or dialysis
  • Patients with a prognosis of greater than six months to live
  • Patients needing or requesting support to manage healthcare needs
  • Types of patients are typically those with chronic diseases such as end stage heart disease, renal disease, end stage pulmonary disease and other illnesses that the patient is at the end of the disease progression but may not meet hospice criteria of six months or less to live.

We are happy to answer questions and assist you with understanding the benefits of Palliative Care. If you have questions regarding Palliative Care, please contact us at (262) 652-4400.