Palliative Care

Palliative Care

Palliative Care
Palliative (comfort) care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains who work together to provide relief from the symptoms, pain and stresses of serious illness for patients and their families.

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    A answered
    At the time cancer is diagnosed and during treatment, palliative care may include: 
    • Aggressive treatment of adverse effects related to cancer treatment
    • Relief of pain, nausea, and other physical symptoms
    • Help with practical concerns including help with transportation, finding caregivers, or insurance matters
    • Assistance with legal matters relating to advance directives (written documents that detail your wishes for health care in the event you are unable to express them)
    • Planning for rehabilitation services such as physical or occupational therapy
    • Emotional support
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    A Hospice Nursing, answered on behalf of
    The Palliative Care Information Act (PCIA) instructs New York doctors and nurse practitioners to offer terminally ill patients information on hospice, palliative care and appropriate end-of-life options. Patients may accept or decline the offer, but at least they do not bear responsibility for starting what may be the most important conversation of their lives.

    PCIA will not force frightening facts on unwilling patients. The bill is clear that patients may decline the offer of information, and that ends the discussion. Patients whose wish is not to know will still get that wish.
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    A Geriatrics Nursing, answered on behalf of
    Hospice and palliative medicine specialists take care of someone with a chronic illness or someone who is burdened by symptoms that are not relieved by traditional interventions. Hospice and palliative care is provided by a team of professionals, such as physicians, nurses, social workers and home health aides.
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    Those who need palliative care include people who are chronically ill and elderly who will likely require some form of medical attention for the rest of their lives. It is a significant culture shift for doctors to consider palliative care consultation for people who are not clearly close to the end of life and who are not having an acute decompensation related to an underlying life-limiting illness.

    In order to effectively care for this population, primary care and hospital-based clinicians must better collaborate on strategies across outpatient and inpatient care. One of the biggest struggles in the medical community seems to be the ability or willingness to have the key conversation with people and their family around advanced care planning. Palliative care consultants are best positioned to address strategies of care for chronically ill people.

    Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
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    What Kinds of Services Can a Palliative-Care Team Provide?
    David Buxton, MD, a physician from Johnston-Willis Hospital, lists some of the services his team provides, from managing symptoms to helping with the logistics of returning home after a hospital stay.
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    Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing people with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness -- whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the person who is ill and the family. Palliative care can help you do the following: 
    • manage your symptoms and treat sources of discomfort for any reason
    • maintain or improve your quality of life
    • achieve emotional, mental, and/or spiritual well-being
    • communicate with the care team about how best to care for you
    • navigate making difficult medical decisions
    • be more proactive in getting the type of care you seek
    • handle other practical matters related to your illness such as finding resources for care or planning ahead
    • support your family or those caring for you to help them maintain health and wellness

    Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, professional healthcare chaplains, and other specialists who work together with a person's other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

    Palliative treatments can be given any time there is a difficult symptom to deal with. Doctors will always attempt to cure and control illness. In other words, curative care is provided no matter what. In the past, doctors used palliative care only after getting to the point where they would have to announce, “there is nothing more we can do.” However, healthcare has improved and now palliative treatment can be offered along with curative treatments to help get through the difficult symptoms.

    Eligibility and appropriateness for palliative care is based on need and not prognosis. It is appropriate for people pursuing cure (for example, head and neck cancer or acute myeloid leukemia); living with long-term chronic but debilitating illness like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia or congestive heart failure; and approaching the end of life as a result of a progressive disease. People can be receiving both curative chemotherapy and palliative care.

    The essence of palliative care is understanding who the person is and what matters most to that person. This -- the search for meaning -- is also the essence of spiritual care.
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    At some point in your cancer journey, you may need to consider palliative care or hospice. Palliative care is a treatment that helps relieve pain and symptoms and can be used along with your prescribed cancer treatment.

    Hospice is a type of palliative care. Specifically, hospice is end-of-life care. Both palliative care and hospice aim to improve quality of life. Talk with your healthcare team about what is best for you.
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    If you have terminal cancer, you may want to consider asking your healthcare team the following questions about hospice:
    • Should I consider hospice care now or in the near future?
    • Will insurance cover my hospice care?
    • If my life expectancy is longer than six months, can I still get hospice care?
    • Can I get hospice care in my home?
    • Who will be caring for me? Will they be doctors, nurses, social workers or home-health aides?
    • What legal issues such as advanced directives, living wills or medical power of attorney should I think about?
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    hca_johnston-willis_buxton_12
    End-of-life treatment is one of the most difficult times that patients and families will face. Here's how a palliative care team can help. Part of an interview with Johnston-Willis Hospital physician David Buxton, MD.
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    Comfort care is term for care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of comfort care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called supportive care and symptom management.

    This answer is based upon source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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