Our palliative care services provide patient-centered, family-focused care for relief from the symptoms, side effects and stress of a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for our patients and their families, in the comfort of home. You can receive services at any point during an illness, from diagnosis on.
Palliative services can be received at the same time as curative treatments. Palliative specialists work closely with the patient’s healthcare team to ensure well-coordinated care. The added layer of support for not just physical but also emotional and social needs may enhance your comfort during the medical treatments that you may be receiving.
What Is Included in Palliative Care?
Palliative care services may include:
Pain and Symptom Management
Pain management in palliative care focuses on helping the patient stay as comfortable as possible. Palliative care nurses and physicians are specially trained to manage pain using a variety of palliative care nursing interventions.
Goals of Care Discussions
Serious illnesses often come with challenging treatment choices. Discussing goals of care with a nursing professional can help you make decisions that align with your values and preferences. Depending on your needs, we may explore questions like:
- What’s most important to you?
- What are your hopes, fears and worries about the future?
- Are there certain types of treatment you do or do not want?
- How do you want to live with the time you have left?
Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning can help families feel more supported and prepared for the final stages of an illness or a sudden medical crisis. You can receive education about treatment options and get help completing advance directives, which are legally binding documents specifying a patient’s treatment preferences.
Family meetings are an ideal forum to discuss goals of care, treatment options and advance care planning. With a palliative professional to guide the process, families can improve communication and identify any unmet needs in a way that is productive and brings everyone together.
Referrals to Community Resources
Our advanced practice nurses, with support from social workers, can help identify useful resources in the community, such as meal support, transportation services and more.
Facing a serious illness can be stressful and isolating. Our palliative care team can provide support and counseling, so that your challenges feel more manageable.
When you’re navigating a complex medical system, it can be helpful to have an expert on your side. Our palliative specialists serve as patient advocates, ensuring your wishes are heard and your needs are addressed.
To learn more about palliative services, contact an Amedisys care center near you.
What to Expect With Palliative Care
A team of palliative specialists, led by a doctor who is board-certified in palliative medicine, will work closely with you and your healthcare providers to coordinate care.
Following an order from your physician, care begins with an initial consultation with a nurse practitioner who asks about pain, medications and symptoms. Patients also have an opportunity to share any social, emotional or spiritual needs.
Based on our findings from the initial consultation, we’ll work with you and your healthcare team to create an individualized plan of care. The plan may include follow-up visits from a nurse practitioner to help with symptom management. With the support of a social worker, the nurse practitioner may also provide emotional support, referrals to spiritual care services, or referrals to community resources based on your individualized goals of care.
What Does Palliative Care Do?
Depending on the patient and family’s needs, palliative care services can help by:
- Providing specialized care for pain and other distressing physical symptoms
- Improving quality of life
- Empowering you to live life on your own terms and choose care options that align with your values and preferences
- Administering care in the comfort of home
- Providing social, emotional and spiritual support
- Addressing caregiving or other challenges, including access to community resources
How to Get Palliative Care Services
Palliative services are often covered by Medicare and other insurance plans. To get palliative care services, you’ll need a referral and order from your physician. Contact an Amedisys care center near you for help getting started. We’ll answer all of your questions and guide you through next steps.