Frequently Asked Questions about Palliative Care
Who is eligible for palliative care?
One need not be dying to benefit from palliative care. Patients who are coping with a serious and/or complex illness who may still be receiving treatment can benefit from palliative care. People who have benefited from palliative care services:
- Advanced cancer
- Cardiac disease
- Respiratory distress
- Kidney failure
- Multiple sclerosis
What role does the physician play?
The primary care physician will continue to direct care. The palliative care team members provide additional support and consultation to the primary care physician.
Who provides palliative care?
The palliative care team can vary, depending on the needs of the patient and family. Care usually involves the family physician, a palliative care nurse, a palliative care physician, a social worker and a chaplain. Other professionals such as a pharmacist, nutritionists and therapists are added to the team as needed.
What is involved in palliative care?
Pain Management: People living with serious and/or a complex illness may experience pain. The palliative care team works with patients and their families to identify the source of the pain and ways to relieve it.
Symptom Management: Often people have to deal with symptoms related to their illness such as breathing difficulty, muscle weakness, bowel and bladder problems, confusion, anxiety, nausea and loss of appetite. Palliative care can help relieve these symptoms.
Social, Spiritual, Psychological and Emotional Support: This is a difficult time whether you are a patient or the loved one of a patient. Palliative care focuses on the person as a whole. Our social worker, chaplain and supportive staff are here to assist with decision making and offer guidance in choices that are available.
Caregiver Support: Some of the services palliative care can provide are:
- Education and instruction regarding disease states, treatment options, and provisions of care.
- Arrangements for home support services and programs.
- Providing important information about the options and choices that are available.
- Simply listening and giving support.
- Assistance with nursing home placement.
- Arrangements for hospice care.
For more information, call 605-622-5200.