Whether you have a chronic, debilitating disease or life-limiting illness, or care for someone who does, your days can be emotionally and physically draining. You, or your loved one, can get relief from pain or suffering without going into hospice care. Our palliative care program can help you enjoy a higher quality of living and still follow a curative treatment plan. Palliative care can be provided at home or in a residential nursing or assisted living facility. And you can start this care, and the comfort it provides, much earlier than the last six months of life.
Is palliative care right for you or someone you're caring for?
Palliative care is appropriate if you (or the person you are caring for) have a debilitating disease or life-limiting serious illness such as, but not limited to:
Medicaid, Medicare and most major insurance providers cover the cost of palliative care. Hospice at Home will bill co-pays to your secondary insurance, you or your family. When a nurse, social worker or spiritual care professional is desired, the fees are based on a sliding scale and we will discuss them with you, your caregiver and family. You will never be turned away from palliative care for financial reasons or inability to pay.
How we will care for your needs
I would like to thank everyone who took care of my husband! I could not have managed without them and their hugs and smiles.
Just as with hospice care, you will work with a palliative care team who will take a holistic approach to providing you, or the person you are caring for, comfort. Your team will include a palliative care physician who comes to where you are residing to provide:
- Relief from symptoms associated with a serious illness such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, insomnia, etc. This will be managed through medications and other types of therapy to treat pain and other symptoms.
- Assistance with understanding difficult treatment choices
- Collaborative treatment plans with your primary care physician that can be offered where you are residing
- Better understanding of your healthcare options
In addition to the palliative care physician, the palliative team may include a nurse, social worker and/or spiritual care professional. Some of the services you or your loved one may wish to include in a customized palliative care plan are:
Emotional and Spiritual Support
The palliative care team is here to help you or your loved one enjoy the best quality of life possible. We will help you adjust to your new physical limitations, find meaning and hope during your illness, and help you and your caregivers understand and cope with family issues.
Information and Communication
This can be an overwhelming time for you (or your loved one), your caregivers and family. So your palliative team will help you understand your current medical situation and what to expect in the future. You will get guidance on what decisions you need to make now, during transitions and as you journey closer to dying. Your palliative team can also review your advance directives that allow you, as the patient, to designate whom you would like to make healthcare decisions for you if you are no longer able to speak or write for yourself. We can also have discussions about what the best setting is for your care based on your needs and the needs of your family or caregiver.
Enhancements to Your Environment
The environment where you (or the person you are caring for) are living contributes to physical and emotional comfort. Your palliative team can suggest ways to make that environment better. For example, we may suggest rearranging the furniture so it's easier to get around, or changing the lighting in the room. We also can help your family and friends with adjustments if you (or your loved one) move to a new care setting.
Connections to Family and Loved Ones
When planning care, it is important to consider your needs as the patient as well as the needs of your caregiver and family. Your palliative care team can help find the resources needed to assist in caring for you or your loved one. We can also help you stay or renew connections with family and friends to make this time as meaningful as possible.
How to arrange a palliative care consultation
You can arrange a visit to talk about whether palliative care is a good choice for you or your loved one by contacting us or calling 269-429-7100 or 800-457-1603. We will arrange a consultation at your home or nursing care facility as soon as possible at a time that works for your caregiver or family members who wish to be present. The initial consultation lasts approximately 1.5 hours.
During the consultation visit we will:
- Assess and address your symptoms
- Discuss your goals
- Assist with understanding the course of your disease or illness
- Help with realistic expectations
If you (or the loved one you are caring for) choose to continue with palliative care, the next step is to request a referral from your primary care physician. Once we receive the referral, our palliative care physician will work closely with your primary care physician, your family and you (or your loved one) to alleviate pain and provide support for daily living. Follow-up visits after the initial consultation last about 30 to 45 minutes.
If you, your caregiver, family or physician has additional questions about palliative care, please contact us. We want to smooth the way so you can have the best quality of life possible.