Palliative care is specialized healthcare used to support the needs of individuals with a serious illness, regardless of diagnosis, prognosis or treatment. This unique medical approach focuses on managing the patient’s symptoms and effectively enhancing their quality of life.
The Palliative Care Consult Service at the Cancer Center works closely with the patient’s primary physician to provide symptom management while treating the entire person and allowing patients the choice of receiving high-quality, personalized care.
Goals of Palliative Care
- Respect patient choice and dignity while living with any serious illness.
- Provide the most current and high-level of skill in aggressive pain and symptom management to assure patient comfort.
- Communicate information to patients and their families in order to clarify their goals of care and assist in preparing advance directives.
- Address the psychosocial, spiritual and social concerns of patients and families. Providing care that incorporates patient’s values and beliefs.
- Ensure the patient’s freedom to choose curative treatment including radiation, chemotherapy or dialysis while receiving palliative care.
- Provide support and assistance to develop and implement effective strategies for coping with serious illness.
Palliative Care Versus Hospice Care
Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care may be provided at any point during a person’s illness, even right from the time of diagnosis. Palliative care may be given at the same time as typical treatments. Palliative care is appropriate at any age, at any stage of disease and along with any other type of treatment a patient may be receiving.
Hospice care is palliative care at the end of life. To enter the hospice program, a person’s life expectancy must be six months or less, and they must make a commitment to forgo usual and customary treatments for their underlying disease.
How Palliative Care Works
The consult service is available to meet the changing needs of patients and their families. Everyone is seen within 24 hours of referral.
A plan of care is developed in collaboration with the patient, family and their physician. Family meetings are coordinated with healthcare providers and continuity of care is provided by this service from admission through discharge. All community healthcare options are considered.
We provide comfort with dignity. We respect and strive for the highest quality of life.
For more information about Palliative Care, call 315-624-5555.
Laurie Conover, LMSW
Evelyn Kropp, RN