What is Palliative Care?
If you or someone you love is seriously ill, Saint Francis Healthcare System has a special program to help: the Palliative Care Program. Palliative care is a type of medical care aimed at relieving suffering and improving the quality of life for people with a life-altering illness.
This type of care is appropriate for any patient who has been diagnosed with a chronic or life-limiting illness, at any age or stage of illness. Palliative care is not associated with any specific prognosis or life expectancy. Palliative care is not necessarily end-of-life care, or hospice care – it is supportive care.
Palliative care is managed in multiple settings, including the hospital, outpatient clinics, nursing facilities and home and aimed at relieving suffering and improving quality of life.
The Palliative Care Team
Consisting of a nurse practitioner, a nurse and a social worker, the palliative care team works closely with patients’ physicians, pastoral care chaplains, case managers, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians, pharmacists and others when needed.
Palliative care provides necessary treatments and comforts; guides patients through this unique care process; shares treatment options, choices, plans and goals; manages symptoms such as pain; addresses emotional and spiritual needs; helps set up home health or hospice care and much more.
How Palliative Care Helps Patients and Their Families
At Saint Francis, we believe a patient’s emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being are just as important as physical health. We encourage patients to live life to the fullest. Throughout the disease process, our team of highly skilled and sympathetic caregivers will meet with you and your family to discuss any aspect of your care that you wish.
To meet your needs, the entire Palliative Care team works together to provide all necessary treatments and comforts, including:
- Guiding patients through the palliative care process
- Discussing treatment options, choices, plans and goals
- Addressing all symptoms, including pain relief and emotional and spiritual needs
- Allowing patients to freely share their quality-of-life or end-of-life thoughts, feelings and wishes
- Encouraging patients to discuss any other concerns
- Establishing advance care directives and durable power of attorney, if appropriate
- Setting up home health or hospice care, if needed
For more information about the Palliative Care Program or to refer a patient, contact 573-331-5465.