What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is a specialized medical field that helps people who have been diagnosed with a serious, progressive illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of an illness, and can be provided along with curative treatment. Palliative care focuses on a whole-person treatment approach for the physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of an illness, providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress. The goal is to maximize quality of life for both the patient and their family.
Huntington Memorial Hospital provides a team that includes a physician, nurse, chaplain and social worker who work together, providing extensive support to these patients and families. When a patient is seriously ill, there are many factors to consider including pain management and decision making. Our team assists in the management of pain and other symptoms, and with medical situations that can be difficult to navigate. Palliative care is about quality of life.
What is the difference between Palliative Care and Hospice Care?
Palliative Care is not the same thing as Hospice Care. The Palliative Care team’s support is available as soon as a patient has received the diagnosis of a serious, progressive illness. It is offered in the hospital and in an outpatient clinic setting. Arrangements may be made for in-home palliative care through one of our community partners.
Hospice care is generally offered in the last six months of a terminal illness when a patient is no longer seeking curative treatment or hospitalization, but wishes to maximize their comfort and quality of life. It is provided in the home or a skilled nursing facility.
Am I or my loved one appropriate for palliative care?
Please consider the benefits of palliative care if you or your loved one has cancer, heart failure, COPD (emphysema), AIDS, liver disease, kidney disease, ALS, Parkinsons, dementia, or any other serious, progressive illness. Additionally, if you:
- Are uncomfortable due to pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, constipation or depression;
- Have questions about or wish to plan for the future;
- Have difficult medical decisions to consider.
To meet with a palliative care team member, please ask your doctor to order a Palliative Care consult. For further information, contact the Palliative Care Department at: (626) 397-3737.
Huntington Hospital also has a No One Dies Alone program, providing comfort to patients in their final hours. The program can be reached through a chaplain, or by calling (626) 397-3757.