Palliative Care is for people with a serious illness, yet it is not the same as hospice.

If you’ve never heard of palliative care, you’re in the majority. Recent studies state 7 out of 10 Americans are not at all knowledgeable about this medical specialty. Palliative care doesn’t just add more days to peoples’ lives, but also adds more life back to their days.

Palliative care is not the same as hospice or end-of-life care as many believe; it helps patients and families identify their goals of care and make sure their treatments align with those goals. Palliative care focuses on quality of life for seriously ill adults, children, and families. It helps relieve pain, symptoms, and stress, and can be provided right alongside curative medical treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

 

Palliative Care – What do you mean by that?

  • Palliative care relieves suffering for those with complex and serious illness.
  • Palliative care employs an interdisciplinary team to address physical, social, emotional and spiritual suffering.
  • Palliative Care and Usual Care (also known as curative care) can be offered at the same time to people facing advanced or life-threatening disease.

 

TRUE Palliative Care is an extension of our home health care and is for patients with complex needs.

 

TRUE Palliative Care is more comprehensive than regular home health care by:

  • Managing difficult symptoms (pain, breathlessness, anxiety, emotional distress, nausea)
  • Assisting in addressing changing goals and transitions in levels of care
  • Addressing coordination of care by helping patients navigate the health care system
  • Offering spiritual support
  • Including more in depth social worker and team support in accessing community resources and other practical matters, as well as addressing emotions associated with illness and treatments.

 

When to Make a Palliative Referral?

  • Team/Patient/Family needs help with complex decision making and determining Goals of Care

  • Uncontrolled psych-social or spiritual issues

  • Increased visits to the emergency department for the same diagnosis

  • Frequent hospital admissions for the same diagnosis in the last three months

  • Prolonged hospital stay (7 to 14 days) without evidence of improvement

  • Prolonged stay in ICU setting without evidence of improvement

  • ICU patient with documented poor prognosis

  • Assistance needed to determine hospice eligibility

  • Frail elderly patient with multiple persistent symptoms

* The above list is adapted with permission from Sequoyah Creek Partners

 

How to Make a Palliative Referral as a Health Care Provider?

Step One: Use the same form you currently use for home health referrals.

 

Step Two: Write either A) home health palliative care or B) transitional support*

in the care service description line (“evaluate and treat” to simplify).

 

Step Three: Fax form to 1.877.681.8330 to initiate services immediately.

 

*transitional support is for patients in long term facilities who are hospice appropriate, but not ready to accept prognosis

 

If you are a patient or caregiver wanting palliative care or information, please call Billy Mitchell, Director, at (405) 253-4413.