Palliative Care

What is the difference between “Palliative Care” and “Hospice Care”?
Palliative Care, treatment aimed at relieving suffering, is given at any time in
the course of a serious illness.  Hospice Care applies when a patient’s life
expectancy is estimated at 6 months or less, and aggressive, curative treatments
are no longer desired. 

The main distinction between the two:
Palliative Care may involve curative treatment, while Hospice focuses on comfort care. 
Both emphasize the patient’s quality of life.

The Palliative Care Service offered by Hospice of Warren County seeks to improve
the quality of life for patients who are coping with a serious illness, either chronic or
progressive.  This care is provided at the same time as other appropriate medical
treatments that may already be underway.

Specifically, the Palliative Care Team can assist with: 
1.  Managing pain and other distressing symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, 
     nausea, bowel problems, anxiety, depression).
2.  Defining individual goals of care for the patient and the family.  “Given the 
     various options for treatment, what do you, the patient, want?”
3.  Coordinating care between settings and easing stress of changes. For example, 
     when a patient transitions from hospital to home, an assisted living facility or 
     nursing home.
4.  Supporting family and caregivers by connecting them with appropriate 
     community resources.

Where does the Palliative Care consult take place?
The initial contact with the care team may be at the hospital, your doctor’s office, an
assisted living facility, a nursing home or even in your own home.

Who is on the Palliative Care Team?
     •  Physician
     •  Nurse with Palliative Care experience
     •  Social Worker
     •  Clergy member or Chaplain (if desired)
     •  Also, if needed:
               •  Pharmacist
               •  Dietitian
               •  Bereavement counselor

Who can ask for a consult and what happens then?
•  Any patient or family member can request a palliative care consultation.
•  The request is called in to the office at (814)-723-2455.  If urgent, the number
    is available 24/7 and the on-call system will provide a prompt response.
•  The physician and appropriate team members will then meet with the patient. 
    Relief of symptoms will be the first priority.
•  A discussion with the patient (and family members, if desired) will focus on defining
    the patient’s goals of care.
•  The team will communicate its recommendations to the patient’s attending physician,
    who will continue to direct the patient’s care.
•  The Palliative Care Team will continue to see the patient at appropriate intervals to
    follow up on specific problems and plans.

Questions about hospice Care?  Please call us at 814-723-2455.  We’re here to help you.

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