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What is Palliative Care?

To palliate means to ease the symptoms of an illness, so palliative care is a medical specialty that works to make the quality of life better for a patient who is being treated for a serious illness. Palliative care providers are experts in easing symptoms that can be difficult to deal with. These may include nausea, anxiety, pain and breathing problems. The patient and their loved ones are also given both emotional and spiritual support. Palliative care is given at the same time as normal medical care. Any active treatment for the patient’s illnesses does not have to stop. Let us manage your symptoms and help make you as comfortable as possible.

IS PALLIATIVE CARE FOR ME?

Palliative care is here to help you and your loved ones have the best quality of life available, and it is appropriate at any stage in a life-limiting illness. It can be provided together with curative treatment, and helps with conditions such as cancer, lung disease, kidney disease, heart conditions, dementia and a wide variety of other illnesses. If you have a life-limiting illness and want to make the most of each day, palliative care can help if:

  • You would like more care and support.
  • You feel like your life would be better with help managing your pain and symptoms.
  • You have been in and out of the hospital with increasing frequency.
  • Your illness is creating stress for you and your family.

SERVICES WE OFFER

  • Hospital and home health, phone visits with your care team.
  • Personalized consultation for symptom management.
  • Coordination with your physician to help ensure your whole care team is coordinated and is well informed about your care
  • Specialized care for your medical, emotional, physical, social and spiritual needs.
  • Support and education for patients and caregivers, personalized by illness, medications and situation.
  • Our team can connect you with community resources to help improve your quality of life.

WHEN IS THE “RIGHT” TIME TO BEGIN PALLIATIVE CARE?

Palliative care can help patients and families at any point in a life-limiting illness, so the “right” time to call and find out more is now. Patients and families find palliative care particularly helpful when they:

  • Need help coordinating care services.
  • Are moving from one care setting to another (e.g., hospital to home).
  • Find that their goals of care are changing.

WORKING WITH YOUR PALLIATIVE CARE TEAM

Palliative care is given by a team of people that deals with physical and emotional needs, including a palliative care doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse, social worker, pharmacist, spiritual support and others. To get the most out of palliative care, both the patient and loved ones should have a role.

What can a patient do?
To make sure you are getting the best care, learn everything you can about your illness, and the goals of your care. If you have pain or other symptoms, tell your palliative care team. Treating these symptoms is best for your health and quality of life. If you need support in other ways, speak up. The care team is there to help you get what you need.

What can a family member do?
Talk with the palliative care team often. Do your best to learn about your loved one’s illness and goals of their care. When choices need to be made, act on your loved one’s wishes. If you are worried or have a question, speak up. You can help the team make sure that your loved one has the best quality of life they can.

HOW DO I GET PALLIATIVE CARE?

To begin services or to find out more about palliative care, you can:

  • Talk with your physician.
  • Or call us at 217-876-4646, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (excluding holidays).