Dealing with the symptoms of any painful or serious illness is difficult. However, St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital now offers a special program of care that is available to help hospitalized patients feel more comfortable. It’s called palliative (pal-lee-uh-tiv) care. Palliative care is provided while a patient is receiving treatments for illness. Its primary purpose is to relieve pain and other symptoms, and improve quality of life.
Palliative care does not replace primary treatment. The Palliative Care team at St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital works together with the patient’s primary care physician to complement the treatment a patient is receiving. Palliative care can help those who suffer from any serious illness. Adults and children living with cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure and AIDS find palliative care particularly helpful. Through this specialized focused treatment, our team helps patients find relief from distressing symptoms including pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, problems with sleep, and many other symptoms. We help a patient deal with the side effects of medical treatment; provide emotional support for the patient and family; improve communication with healthcare providers; and facilitate open discussion about treatment choices.
Palliative care is available at any time during illness. Its availability does not depend upon whether or not a patient’s condition can be cured. Unlike hospice, the patient does not have to be at the end of life to receive this care.
The Palliative Care team at St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital includes doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, nutritionists, counselors and others. We spend as much time with the patient and family as it takes to help them fully understand their condition, care options and other needs. We also make sure the patient experiences a smooth transition between the hospital and other services, such as home care or nursing facilities. Besides maximizing the patient’s comfort, palliative care helps the patient set goals that lead to a meaningful, enjoyable life while receiving treatment for illness.
Serious illnesses and their treatments can cause exhaustion, anxiety and depression. The Palliative Care team understands that pain and other symptoms may affect quality of life and leave a patient lacking the energy or motivation to pursue the things they enjoy. We also know that stress from illness can have a big impact on the family. We can help the patient and family cope with this difficult experience.
Most insurance plans cover all or part of the palliative care treatment in the hospital, just as they would other services. Medicare and Medicaid also typically cover palliative care. If a patient has concerns about the cost of palliative care treatment, a social worker from the palliative care team can help.
For a referral to Palliative Care at St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, call 765-683-3149.