Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

handsPalliative care, also know as Supportive Care, is specialized medical, nursing, social and spiritual care that works to reduce the symptoms, pain and stress of people living with a chronic or advanced illness.

Supportive Care services are appropriate for patients of any age, at any stage of an illness and can be provided at the same time as curative treatment. Serious illnesses bring about the need for information, choosing new paths and making choices—for now and in the future.

How does Supportive Care help?

The Supportive Care Team will help you and your family:

  • Learn more about your disease
  • Learn about care options
  • Clarify goals of treatment
  • Support medical decisions
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Help with Advance Care planning
  • Provide emotional support
  • Provide spiritual or religious support
  • Make referrals to community agencies

Would Supportive Care benefit me?

Supportive Care, which may also be referred to as palliative care, may be helpful if you have a serious illness or injury that can be predicted to get worse or may not be responding to medical treatments. This includes but is not limited to:

It may also be helpful if you experience any of the following:

  • Advanced heart disease
  • Advanced lung disease such as COPD, end stage kidney disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Cancers
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Advanced dementia, including Alzheimer’s

It may also be helpful if you experience any of the following:

  • Frequent Emergency Room visits
  • Frequent Hospital Admissions
  • A medical condition that is worsening
  • Malnutrition and losing weight loss to advanced disease

How does Supportive Care work?

The Supportive Care Team works with your physicians and other health care team members to help manage the pain and symptoms associated with your illness. The team often works with family members when the patient is not able to participate in discussions or is unable to make choices for themselves.

Where is Supportive Care provided?

Supportive Care is available for patients of Self Regional Healthcare and for patients referred to the Supportive Care Clinic.

Where is the Supportive Care Clinic located?

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Supportive Care is offered in the Cancer Center. Patients of the Cancer Center are referred to the Clinic by their physician for symptom management, goals of care discussions and assistance with other complex issues related to their disease management and care needs.

Is there a separate cost for Supportive Care?

Supportive Care is available to any patient, regardless of ability to pay. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover the cost of Supportive Care.

Who is the Supportive Care Team?

Supportive Care 2015 (1)

  • A physician who is an expert in treatment to help relieve pain and symptoms caused by the illness or aggressive curative treatments of the disease.
  • An RN or Nurse Practitioner with specialized, training in complex chronic illnesses, end-of-life concerns, pain and symptom management. They will educate patients and families on disease progress, care options, and advance care planning.
  • A social worker, chaplain and other therapies are available based on the needs of the patient.

Is Supportive Care the same as Hospice?

Although both promote comfort, hospice serves patients with a limited life expectancy of six months or less. Supportive Care does not require a terminal diagnosis.

Supportive Care helps and supports patients and families through all stages of a serious illness. Supportive Care may be combined with therapies aimed at reducing or curing the illness or it may be the total focus of care.

Who can refer?

Anyone can request a consultation for Supportive Care—patient’s doctor, nurse, social worker, hospital discharge planner, case manager, family member or patient. A physician’s order must be obtained prior to the consult. Please call 725-5155 to refer a patient.