Palliative Care and Chronic Illnesses
Palliative Care is a medical specialty dedicated to actively supporting patients and families dealing with advanced, chronic illnesses. Our goals are to relieve suffering for our patients, to provide the best possible quality-of-life care, and to provide support to their families.
Unlike hospice, Palliative Care is appropriate for patients at any stage of illness and is offered along with curative or life-prolonging treatments.
The focus of the CHI St. Vincent Palliative Care Service is on aggressively treating pain, symptoms and stress in the inpatient or outpatient setting, or both. We also provide assistance and support to patients and families making difficult medical decisions.
What is Palliative Care?
- Palliation means relief of symptoms, easing pain and offering support.
- Palliative Care provides support when patients/families feel anxious or depressed or lose hope.
- Palliative Care helps patients and families find assistance and resources in the community when needed.
Palliative Care is designed to help patients/families dealing with:
- Illnesses such as cancer, chronic lung disease/emphysema, CVA, heart disease/heart failure, ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, HIV/AIDS, liver disease, or other advanced illness
- Frequent visits to the emergency department, or readmission for the same diagnosis
- The need for assistance in discussing end-of-life issues or determining goals of care
Palliative Care focuses on aggressive symptom management of:
- Unacceptable levels of pain
Palliative Care physician services are covered by Medicare and most private insurance.
A team approach: The care team is a partnership that includes the patient, family/friends, and:
- Specially trained Palliative Care physicians
- Palliative Care nurses
- Social workers
- Other disciplines as needed (e.g., physical therapists, pharmacists)
The role of the multidisciplinary team:
- To provide physical, emotional and spiritual care for the patient and family members
- To provide information about medications, treatment options and the disease process
- To help ensure that the wishes of the patient and family are known and carried out