What is palliative care?
The word “palliate” means to make comfortable. Palliative care is for people with serious illnesses who need expert pain management and relief from distressing symptoms. Palliative care patients can still be seeking curative treatment for their illness.
Palliative care is all about providing comfort and support, thereby enhancing quality of life. Our goal is to help patients and families understand complex medical conditions and discuss the role of devices, therapies and medications. We help the patient set goals regarding his or her medical care while controlling symptoms at all times.
Palliative care provides:
- Assessment of pain and other distressing symptoms with recommendations.
- Consultation that addresses spiritual, physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of the patient and family.
- Additional expertise to support the primary doctor, facility staff and caregivers during the person’s illness.
- Advice on patient goals and care.
Where does HPCG offer palliative care?
HPCG’s palliative care program is offered in private homes as well as in long-term care settings and assisted-living communities throughout Greensboro and surrounding areas. A medical order is required to initiate a consult. Call 336.621.7575 for further information.
Is palliative care the same as hospice care?
Both hospice and palliative care focus on the whole person and emphasize treating symptoms to keep the patient comfortable. Palliative care can be started at any time during an illness, preferably at the time of diagnosis, allowing the team to address important needs throughout the course of the illness. Hospice is offered when it seems that the illness has taken its “natural course,” and death would result in six months or less.
Palliative care can be utilized for residents who meet hospice criteria, but are ineligible while using Medicare for room and board. HPCG’s team can answer questions about hospice care or make a referral if appropriate.
Who is on the HPCG team?
HPCG’s palliative care team includes two nurse practitioners and a physician, who are all board-certified/eligible in hospice and palliative care.
Who can benefit from palliative care?
- Patients with life-limiting illnesses, including:
- Cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), kidney disease, liver disease, dementia, HIV/AIDS, stroke, persistent coma and many others.
- Patients with uncontrolled physical symptoms, including:
- Pain, dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, coughing, delirium, insomnia, anxiety, agitation and severe dysphagia.
- Patients or families wishing to discuss advanced care planning, including:
- Goals of care, comfort-directed therapy and review of advance directives.
How are palliative care services covered?
The only services that are billed for under the palliative care program are those of the nurse practitioner and physician. Private insurance normally covers these services. As with any provider, actual coverage may vary from one company to another. Patients may already have Medicare Part B coverage, which covers visits; therefore, services such as physical therapy or home health care may be received simultaneously with palliative care services.
Thank you for taking the time to familiarize yourself with palliative care. Our goal is not to cure necessarily, but to care always.
Think you or your loved one could benefit from palliative care? Call 336.621.7575.