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Palliative Care

Our Palliative Care services offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death and to reduce suffering. The primary focus of Palliative Care is to relieve physical symptoms related to a disease or medical state, enabling a patient and family to address psychosocial and spiritual concerns near death.

Palliative Care provides compassionate and comprehensive care to patients and their families facing illnesses in their advanced stages and helps families cope during their loved one's illness and in their own bereavement.

Emotional support, guidance and counseling for patient and family as well as respite and grief counseling for family and loved ones are also emphasized.

When should referral to Palliative Care be considered?

Any time a patient facing life-threatening illness is not managing their symptoms satisfactorily at home and feels their quality of life could be enhanced by specialty palliative care.

Which types of patient problems are generally referred to palliative care?

Cancer patients with pain and other symptoms is the primary group served, but palliative care is also intended to care for patients with other diagnoses, including end-stage heart or lung diseases, and late-stage HIV disease. Admitting symptoms would include poorly controlled pain, troublesome nausea and vomiting, acute shortness of breath, and unmanageable agitation or confusion.

Who can make a referral?

Patients, families, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Actual admission is reviewed for appropriateness by the Palliative Care Team.

How are treatment decisions made?

The Palliative Care Team assists patients, family, and friends to make informed decisions about treatment and care. A patient's regular physician may participate in any aspect of treatment planning and care as well as obtain consultation from the unit's medical director. Everyone works together to relieve a patient and their family's suffering.

What role may the family play?

Family members and close friends are encouraged to be present and participate in care as much as they are willing and able. Rooms are private and visiting hours are 24 hours a day. Sleepover furniture for one family member is available in each patient room. A multi-purpose room and lounge are available.

How does one pay for services?

Because Palliative Care services provide acute care under its license, costs to patients are generally covered by insurance. To offer maximum flexibility, a private pay rate is also available for select situations if insurance coverage ends. Donated funds are also utilized from many sources to cover the costs of this unique service. There is commitment to provide service to all who are eligible based on need regardless of ability to pay.

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