A Roots & Roads resource for navigating serious illness and end-of-life care decisions.
affect the journey
"We cannot change the outcome, but we can affect the journey." - Ann Richardson
Palliative care is designed to provide support to anyone dealing with a serious illness. It is specialized medical care that focuses on symptom management and relief from the stress of illnesses such as cancer, congestive heart failure, and dementia. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and provide help to the family as well. A person can continue to receive curative and other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and dialysis while also benefiting from palliative support.
The services of each palliative care provider vary, but they may include the following:
- Coordination of care among your current physicians and other members of your healthcare team to develop a more holistic treatment plan.
- Expert pain and symptom management to improve quality of life.
- Emotional, social, and spiritual support for the patient and their loved ones.
- Collaboration among healthcare team members, the patient, and loved ones to address treatment questions, advance care planning, and care goals.
- Establish treatment goals that reflect the patient’s values and priorities.
What is Palliative Care?
Is Palliative Care the same as Hospice?
No. A patient does not have to be under hospice to receive palliative care. Hospice is focused on care in the final months of a person’s life, and the patient can no longer receive treatments to cure their illness while on hospice. Palliative care, on the other hand, may be accessed when a person continues to receive curative and other treatments for their illness and is an added support to the patient and their loved ones at any time in the disease process. Palliative care providers can help patients and their loved ones cope with the stresses of living with a serious illness.
Members of the palliative care team may include:
- A physician and nurse practitioner
- Social worker
- Spiritual counselor/chaplain
Where is Palliative Care provided and Who pays for it?
Palliative care can be provided in any setting where the patient resides. This includes hospitals and outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities and care homes, and private residences.
Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans will cover the medical portion of the palliative care services, but not necessarily the social service and spiritual support. You can check with your healthcare plan to determine what palliative care services will be covered.
If interested in benefiting from these services, ask your physician for a referral to palliative care.
The above information was obtained in part from the National Hospice and Palliative Care website as well as the National Institute of Nursing Research. Both sites are great resources for you to visit for more in-depth information.
Palliative vs Hospice Care
Watch the video that further explains the benefits and differences between palliative and hospice care, courtesy of the Goals of Care Coalition of New Jersey.
Ambiguous Loss & Dementia: Living with Uncertainty
Roots & Roads Recorded Webinar
Caregiver stress and burden may sometimes be misunderstood, with the real culprit being ambiguous loss - when the person is physically present but psychologically different from who they once were. Learn definitions and concrete strategies to infuse hope, meaning and promote self-care.
Dementia: The Struggle is Real
Roots & Roads Recorded Webinar
80% of people with dementia have behavioral challenges, including agitation, during their disease progression.
Current management of these behaviors with prescription drugs do not always work and the lack of clinical studies can be frustrating. In the context of Casa de la Luz Hospice’s innovative agitation program, Dr. Rebecca Powell and Piper Frithsen will share practical, non-pharmacological approaches to treating dementia behaviors and their underlying causes like boredom, restlessness, and sensory overload.
Roots & Roads
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