palliative care

What is Palliative Care

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Dr. Timothy Ihrig explains the benefits of palliative care that prioritize a patient’s personal values and navigates a severe illness from diagnosis to death with dignity and compassion.

 

Palliative Care is a new buzzword swirling around the health care industry recently.

The conversation often begins with a pre-hospice situation because you need a chronic condition to qualify. You may still be treating your condition but struggling, or you may have been hospitalized several times recently, or managing multiple health issues and medications.

In a nutshell, palliative care is symptom management. It is a somewhat fuzzy concept because the protocol for care varies among companies who offer it. The ultimate goal is always the same – providing you a higher level of personalized care.

Many of the hospice agencies have incorporated therapeutic programs into their menu of services because it affords you the opportunity to see the value rich hospice can bring to your family.

Waiting for the last two weeks or two days of someone’s life to bring in hospice services doesn’t serve you justly. Hospice can provide so many valuable options when brought in early enough that 24 percent of people graduate off hospice service.

Palliative care is typically at no cost to you and provides a nurse visit to your home once a month. The nurse will assess your current health and your overall well-being.

The goal is to confirm you are managing OK with the current treatment plan outlined by your doctor, including checking on your medications, your vitals, your mental health and general safety.

A social worker twill also assists with resource options. Many companies also provide 24/7/365 telephone access to a nurse.

The palliative team can work in collaboration with your doctors and help you navigate your course of care. They also offer easier access to quick assistance when there is a sudden change in health, and you are dealing with a difficult or emergent situation.

Help with getting medication adjustments (especially pain meds) in a quicker, easier and more efficient manner than calling the doctor for an appointment, is another significant benefit of these programs.

by Elaine Poker-Yount  Community Liaison