Palliative care can help in many ways

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:07

    NEWTON — There’s an important medical term that you may not have heard of: Palliative Care. Palliate means to make comfortable by treating a person’s symptoms resulting from a serious illness. Hospice is just one form of palliative care that many Americans have heard of. Both hospice and palliative care focus on helping a person be comfortable by addressing issues causing physical or emotional pain, or suffering. Hospice and other palliative care providers have teams of people working together to provide care. The goals of palliative care are to improve the quality of a seriously ill person’s life and to support that person and their family during and after treatment. For more than 30 years, Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice has been caring for people at the end of life while hospice nationwide has served more than 1.5 million patients and their family caregivers each year. Hospices are the largest providers of palliative care services in the country. However, this very same approach to care is being used by other healthcare providers, including teams in hospitals, nursing facilities and home health agencies in combination with other medical treatments to help people who are seriously ill. Hospice focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting patients with a life expectancy of months not years. Palliative care may be given at any time during a person’s illness, from diagnosis on and is appropriate for any stage of a serious illness. PALS, Palliative Services (a trademark program that is part of the network of non-profit services provided by the Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation) works in partnership with your primary doctor and consists of palliative care experts, social workers, nurses, chaplain and pharmacists to provide the pain and symptom management. Patients that are part of the PALS program also are given help in navigating through the healthcare system, professional guidance with difficult and complex choices, emotional, educational, and spiritual support for the entire family, care plans, nursing services, and in-home blood testing. If you or a family member would like to learn more about this palliative care service, ask to speak to a PALS health coach by calling 973-383-0115 or 800-882-1117 for a free consultation.