What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is an approach to caring for patients with advanced or serious illness, centered around promoting quality of life. Its goal is to address distressing symptoms while providing compassionate care for patients and their loved ones.
Once the request for an inpatient Palliative Care consultation is placed, a nurse practitioner performs an comprehensive assessment and collaborates with a multidisciplinary team to provide the patient the best possible care. This team may consist of the attending medical providers, nurses, social workers, case managers, pharmacists and nutrition staff.
How do you know if you need Palliative Care?
Many patients with serious medical illnesses experience distressing physical and emotional symptoms. The Palliative care team understands these symptoms, how they can affect your quality of life and how the stress impacts you and your loved ones. Our team can help you cope with this difficult experience, manage your symptoms and assist in establishing the next step in your plan.
Palliative Care can help with:
• Managing difficult to control symptoms, including pain, nausea, shortness of breath, depression
• Discussing prognosis
• Helping establish an overall plan of care
• Information about community resources
• Providing emotional support
• Establishing goals of care
• Coordinating patient-family-care team meetings
• Advance care planning, including identifying a health care proxy and documenting wishes for the future
How is Palliative Care different from Hospice?
Often, the term “palliative care” is confused with Hospice treatment, in which a patient no longer receives treatments to cure their illness and life expectancy is less than six months.
Palliative care is available to ANY patient with serious illness at ANY time. The goal is to relieve distressing symptoms, improve quality of life and support you and your loved ones, regardless of illness prognosis.
Possible benefits to patients in Palliative Care:
• Reduced anxiety, depression and pain
• Increased confidence in navigating care
• Increased satisfaction with care received
• Decreased hospital admissions, readmissions and emergency room visits
For more information, contact Wendy Coutu, NP, at (978) 630-6457.
Know Your Choices: A Guide for Patients with Serious Advancing Illness
(To download 'Know Your Choices' in various languages, click here.)