Palliative care is the special care given to patients with a serious illness and to their families. Nurses, physicians, social workers, chaplains and others work together to decrease physical, emotional and spiritual suffering. This approach may be used whether the goal of care is to cure, control the illness or provide comfort. Palliative care can also be given to patients at the end of life.
Various services available through Palliative Care include symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, information and communication.
The Saint Agnes Pain and Palliative Care Team may consult with patients, families and other healthcare team members to treat pain and other symptoms, help with discussion of goals and wishes, or provide extra support to help families find needed resources to assist in caring for their loved one. When a patient is dying, the team supports connections with family and friends to help make this time as meaningful as possible. Many patients may choose to transition to a hospice program at a later date.
How does palliative care differ from hospice?
Hospice care follows the guidelines of the Medicare hospital benefit, and is provided in the home or in a residential nursing facility. It is available to patients during the last six months of their life. Palliative care may begin much earlier than the last six months of life, often while a patient continues to receive treatment for a disease. Patients may receive palliative care while in the hospital or in a home care program.
For more information or to request palliative care services, talk to your physician. For more information, call (559) 450-4634.