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Palliative care

Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life and relieving symptoms when you are critically ill. This offers you an extra level of comfort whether you are battling a serious medical condition or terminally ill.

Compassionate palliative care and support

When it comes to serious illness, sometimes you need an extra layer of support.

We understand the hardships of living with the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness. The dedicated palliative medicine specialists throughout Mission Health's family of hospitals work to find you the relief you need so you can be as comfortable as possible.

When should someone be offered palliative care?

Palliative care can be a critical part of any treatment plan. However, at what point it is integrated is completely up to you and your doctors. Some potential times you may begin palliative care include:

  • As part of follow-up treatments
  • During curative treatments
  • During end of life care
  • Following diagnosis

Services we offer at our palliative care facilities

The primary focus of palliative care is to improve quality of life by addressing your emotional and practical needs. This could be just as necessary when you receive your initial diagnosis as it is during the primary stage of disease treatment.

Palliative care vs. hospice care

Many people confuse palliative care and hospice care, believing they are the same thing. While the general concept of managing symptoms and relieving pain is the same for both types of care, there are key differences in the structure and implementation.

First, palliative care can be initiated at any time throughout your care journey, while hospice care is purely about comfort during end-of-life care exclusively. Further, the majority of hospice care is paid for through the Medicare hospice benefit. So not only do Medicare's eligibility requirements typically have to be met, but two doctors must sign off that there is a prognosis of less than six months. However, palliative care is a consultation service requested by your physician or healthcare provider once you have had a conversation about your overall needs.

Types of palliative care

Palliative care specialists focus on your humanity and make sure you truly feel like a person — a person with dignity. We work with you to achieve goals that can put you at ease on a deeper level and get you to a place of physical and emotional comfort that you define, not anyone else.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment. Our palliative care doctors can begin care by addressing ordinary concerns, such as how your condition affects your family, coping with any loss of independence or feeling like a bother to those around you. Above all, they are here to get you where you need to go while in this vulnerable state, working with specialized nurses, social workers and chaplains to provide an extra layer of support in whichever ways they can, including:

  • Coordination of care in both the hospital and the outside community
  • Creating a personalized care plan
  • Facilitating communication between healthcare providers
  • Management of pain and symptoms
  • Spiritual support

If you need palliative care

Whether you are a patient at one of our hospitals, receiving outpatient care or living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, if you need help with facilitating palliative care, give our care teams a call at (828) 277-4805.

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