Dealing with the symptoms of any painful or serious illness is
difficult. However, St.Vincent Anderson Regional now offers a
special program of care that is available to help hospitalized patients
feel more comfortable. It’s called palliative (pal-lee-uh-tiv) care.
Palliative care is provided while a patient is receiving treatments for
illness. Its primary purpose is to relieve pain and other symptoms, and
improve quality of life.
What is Palliative Care
Palliative care does not replace primary treatment. The Palliative
Care team at St.Vincent Anderson Regional works together with
the patient’s primary care physician to complement the treatment a
patient is receiving. Palliative care can help those who suffer from any
serious illness. Adults and children living with cancer, heart disease,
lung disease, kidney failure and AIDS find palliative care particularly
helpful. Through this specialized focused treatment, our team helps
patients find relief from distressing symptoms including pain, shortness
of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, problems
with sleep, and many other symptoms. We help a patient deal with the
side effects of medical treatment; provide emotional support for the
patient and family; improve communication with healthcare providers; and
facilitate open discussion about treatment choices.
Palliative care is available at any time during illness. Its
availability does not depend upon whether or not a patient’s condition
can be cured. Unlike hospice, the patient does not have to be at the end
of life to receive this care.
The Palliative Care team at St.Vincent Anderson Regional
includes doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists,
nutritionists, counselors and others. We spend as much time with the
patient and family as it takes to help them fully understand their
condition, care options and other needs. We also make sure the patient
experiences a smooth transition between the hospital and other services,
such as home care or nursing facilities. Besides maximizing the
patient’s comfort, palliative care helps the patient set goals that lead
to a meaningful, enjoyable life while receiving treatment for illness.
Serious illnesses and their treatments can cause exhaustion,
anxiety and depression. The Palliative Care team understands that pain
and other symptoms may affect quality of life and leave a patient
lacking the energy or motivation to pursue the things they enjoy. We
also know that stress from illness can have a big impact on the family.
We can help the patient and family cope with this difficult experience.
Most insurance plans cover all or part of the palliative care
treatment in the hospital, just as they would other services. Medicare
and Medicaid also typically cover palliative care. If a patient has
concerns about the cost of palliative care treatment, a social worker
from the palliative care team can help.
For a referral to Palliative Care at St.Vincent Anderson Regional, call 765-683-3149.