What is palliative care? Palliative care is care for people living with a serious illness. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care is provided by a team of specialists including palliative care doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists who work together with your doctor to provide an extra layer of support in the hospital. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
How to get Palliative Care
If you are interested in receiving palliative care for your illness while in the hospital, the first step is to speak to the attending doctor who is treating you. Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life, helping with advance care planning discussions, and providing emotional support to patients and their families. Be sure to explain to your attending doctor what is important to improving your quality of life and your doctor can refer you to palliative care, if appropriate.
Palliative Care at Wilcox
Our mission is to improve the lives of seriously ill patients and their families through symptom management and coordinated, compassionate care.
What is Palliative Care?
- Special medical care for people with a serious illness
- Targets pain, symptoms and stress caused by illness
- Helps you and your family with complex decision making
- Helps coordinate your care
- Provides an extra layer of support
- Is a partnership among patient, family and health care providers
- Helps people live as well as they can for as long as they can
Who May Benefit From Palliative Care?
- Anyone with a serious, potentially life limiting illness
- Patients and families facing complex medical decisions
When is the Right Time for Palliative Care?
Palliative care can assist patients throughout all stages of illness. It may be best introduced early in your care and is provided at the same time as curative treatments.
Is Palliative Care the Same as Hospice?
No. Hospice care is meant specifically for those approaching the last stages of life, while palliative care is appropriate for any stage of a serious illness.
How Do I Contact Palliative Care?
Ask your doctor for a referral if you admitted to the hospital and would like Palliative Care service.
What You Can Expect From Palliative Care
The Palliative care service at Wilcox Medical Center offers:
- Assistance in relieving symptoms of medical illness such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation and nausea
- Coordination with your medical team to ensure you understand your condition and options for medical care
- Emotional, social and spiritual support
How Palliative Care Can Make a Difference
Recent studies show that patients who receive palliative care experience improved communication with their doctors and family members, enhanced emotional and spiritual well-being, and the lessening of pain and other symptoms.
Working as a Team
Together with your primary medical team, the palliative care service can assist in family/team meetings and offer guidance and support with difficult treatment decisions and goal setting.
The palliative care team includes a:
- Social Worker
- Case Manager
- Respiratory Therapist
Also attached is the palliative care brochure. (PDF)