Palliative Care

Additional Information

(Palliative Care in Spanish, download PDF below)


Palliative care may actually help you recover from your illness by relieving symptoms—such as pain, anxiety, or loss of appetite as you undergo sometimes-difficult medical treatments or procedures, such as surgery or chemotherapy.


ELIGIBILITY
Palliative care is for people of any age and at any stage in an illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic, or life-threatening. If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms of a disease or disorder, be sure to ask your current physician for a referral for a palliative care consult.


RECEIVING CARE
Palliative doctors are specially trained in palliative medicine. They may provide palliative medicine through a hospital, hospice program, or both, and you can receive palliative care at a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility, or your home.

To best meet your needs, palliative care uses a team approach. The team, headed by the palliative doctor, may include nurses, social workers, and other medical and nonmedical professionals and volunteers who provide palliative care.

The overall goal of palliative care is to improve your and your family’s quality of life while you are ill. Research shows that people often live longer when they receive palliative care along with other treatments that are targeted at their illness.


HOW IS HOSPICE CARE RELATED TO PALLIATIVE CARE?
There is a specific type of palliative care—called Hospice—for people for whom a cure is no longer possible and who likely have 6 months or less to live. Hospice care can be provided at a hospice facility, hospital, nursing home, or your home.

Hospice care is about giving you control, dignity, and comfort, and to provide the best possible quality of life during the time you have. Hospice care also provides support and grief therapy for your loved ones.

Whether receiving hospice or palliative care, you should, make a plan to live well so that your wishes for care and living are known.


PALLIATIVE CARE FINANCIAL COVERAGE
There are a number of options for paying for palliative care.


OPTIONS

Private Insurance and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
Check with your insurance company or HMO to determine your coverage; many offer palliative care benefits.


Medicare
This government insurance program covers people 65 years or older; people younger than 65 who have some chronic conditions; and people with kidney failure, no matter their age. Medicare Part B (which is optional and which you pay into) may offer palliative coverage, depending on the treatment. Medicare coverage is explained on the US Department of Health and Human Services website. For more information, visit the Medicare Rights Center.


Learn More
Please note that palliative care coverage differs from hospice financial coverage. For more information about palliative care coverage, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s patient website:

www.nhpco.org and www.calhospice.org


Making a Plan to Live Well
In your first meeting with your Hospice and palliative team, they will listen to your concerns, needs, and desires, in order to understand your wishes for care and living.

Everybody has different needs and wishes. One person might have needed to achieve pain relief so she/he can comfortably attend her family events; another might want to get his shortness of breath under control, another person may require support of her/his swallowing difficulty. Hospice and palliative team will work with your loved one and your family to come up with a plan to give you control and help you live well, as you define it. They will also continually communicate team member and with you to provide the best plan of care as needed.

By understanding your goals and wishes, both you and the team will be able to better develop your treatment and care plan.


Questions the palliative doctor and other team members may ask include:

  • How can we help you live well?
  • What needs or services would you like to discuss?
  • What are your fears or worries about your illness or medical care?
  • In what way do you feel you could make the illness time especially meaningful to you?
  • If you have to choose between living longer and living more comfortably or energetically, how would you approach this balance?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What activities or experiences would you like to do or continue doing so that you feel you are living well?
  • Are there any special events or activities that you are looking forward to?
  • What do you hope for your family and loved ones?
  • What keeps you going when life’s challenges seem overwhelming?
  • Do you have religious or spiritual needs that are important to you?


Developing Your Care Plan
Though you might have identified your goals and wishes for living well, you likely will have many complicated medical decisions to make. This can be confusing, frightening, and overwhelming, and you may worry about whether or not you are receiving the most beneficial or appropriate treatment. Palliative physician and team members can explain your care plan and guide you in making decisions by providing the simple possible plan. All treatments come with benefits and burdens. For example, a therapy may help control your illness but cause pain or difficulty eating, swallowing, and nauseating. In some cases, the side effects of the treatment can be controlled easily by palliative care team work. The palliative doctor and palliative team can help you weigh the benefits and burdens so you can make a decision that’s right for you.

Palliative doctors are concerned about you and your loved one as a whole person—not just the part of you that is sick. They also understand that there is not always one right or wrong answer and that your needs and environment may change over time. Palliative doctors consider all of these things when working with you and your PCP and specialist to develop a care plan.

Patients and relatives always have the right to reinstate traditional care and any time for any reason. If patient’s condition stabilize and improves or resolve, patient can be discharged from palliative care services. If her/his condition aggravate and worsen patients care plan may transferred to hospice care to higher level of care.

We understand that the Life Limiting Conditions are extremely stressful and difficult for the patient and family. Hospice is appropriate for people for whom a cure is no longer possible and who likely have 6 months or less to live. Hospice care can be provided at a hospice facility, hospital, nursing home, or patient’s home. Hospice care is a Medicare benefit and entitlement that provide 24/7/365 coverage by specialized and State licensed team member of hospice agency assigned personal.

In addition to expert palliative care patient under hospice care services, your loved one receives coordinated care with other providers including the primary care physician, and specialists such as oncologists, surgeon and cardiologists.


“Restoring comfort, dignity and control of your or your loved ones life”

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