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What to Expect – Palliative Care

Our specially trained palliative care team is here to help you and your loved ones through the most difficult moments of your illness. You’ll find pain relief, emotional and spiritual support, and help with making important decisions affecting you or your family.

Goals of palliative care

Our palliative care team is focused entirely on providing relief from symptoms, managing pain and reducing stress to optimize your quality of life during a serious illness. You may benefit from palliative care regardless of your age or whether your illness has a cure, is chronic or is life-threatening. While other aspects of care are focused on treating a disease or condition, the palliative care approach is about managing the effects of a disease on your life. This “whole-person” approach makes use of a team with a variety of expertise and helps you:

  • Find pain relief
  • Cope with stress
  • Control symptoms
  • Support your caregivers
  • Deal with fears about the future

Palliative care is often provided to support you and improve you and your family’s quality of life during your fight to get well. In fact, palliative care can help you recover more quickly and fully by relieving symptoms that arise from aggressive treatments, such as chemotherapy. Your palliative care team will monitor pain management medications to make sure you’re receiving responsible pain relief. Our goal is to work towards supportive care and care that does not interfere with other treatments you are undergoing.

Types of palliative care

Palliative care may either be provided in a hospital or offered as an outpatient service at home or with community partners, depending on where you live. The palliative care services and expertise are the same, regardless of where such care is offered.

Palliative care team

Your palliative care team includes a diverse group of specialists who work together to manage the many aspects of your illness. Most times these teams work with your physician who remains a partner throughout your treatment. While every person’s needs are different, a palliative care team may include:

  • Palliative care doctors
  • Physicians’ assistants
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Dietitians
  • Chaplains
  • Social workers
  • Counselors

Your palliative doctors, nurses and pharmacists will help you with the right medications and dosing, as well as other therapies, to minimize discomfort in a safe, monitored way.

Social workers, chaplains, counselors and others may be called upon to help you with stress or to coordinate support with caregivers and family. They’ll help ensure your preferences and desires for care are known and properly documented and your questions are answered.

We understand the importance of getting to know the people involved in your care and the comfort that comes with familiar faces. We work hard to keep the same group of people involved in your care whenever we can, enabling you to count on consistency and good communication.

Your first palliative care meeting

You can expect your first appointment with a palliative care doctor to help you:

  • Learn more about palliative care and how it can enhance your quality of life
  • Understand how you are placed at the center of your care plan
  • Know how your unique treatment plan is designed to fit your personal goals and needs
  • Feel comfortable that your family members and support system can be involved in your care
  • Get answers to your questions

Do I qualify for palliative care?

Palliative care is a highly personal decision based on your symptoms, the severity of your illness and your wishes and preferences. If you feel palliative care may be right for you, have a conversation with your family and your doctor. Ask your doctor or nurse to refer you for a palliative care consultation.

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover all or part of the palliative care treatment you receive. Please check with your insurance company for details.

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