Supportive and Palliative Care
Supportive and palliative care is devoted to providing expert medical, emotional and spiritual care to people with a serious life-limiting illness. It provides unique support and long-term treatment to people living with chronic or complex illnesses, managing symptoms to increase comfort, improve quality of life and reduce stress. Conditions can include cancer, advanced heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), organ failure, stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, and others.
Palliative and supportive care can be provided in the home, hospital, or a multitude of places, including assisted living facilities.
With palliative and supportive care, we:
Provide total active care for persons with advanced medical illness, especially those with chronic and progressive life-limiting conditions, and a greater understanding of conditions and choices for medical care.
Relieve suffering that often accompanies severe disease or treatment, including pain, fatigue, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, weakness, and other symptoms.
Ease stress that results from serious illnesses and their treatment with spiritual, social, and emotional support for patients and family members.
Help patients and their families live as fully and comfortably as possible during their illness and beyond—improving daily function and preparing for the future.
This is accomplished through:
- Specialized medical care targeted at symptoms affecting the quality of life and making disease treatment more tolerable
- Medication review by specialized pharmacists to optimize treatment and avoid dangerous medication interactions
- Social worker assistance with counseling, education, and accessing services in the community
- Home health care and home services to preserve independence
- Physical and occupational therapy services to maximize strength, function, and mobility
- Nutritional counseling for an optimal diet
- Psychological counseling to manage anxiety, depression, body image concerns, family or social environment, and other issues
- Spiritual direction from chaplains
Pediatric Palliative Care
When a child is seriously ill, each person in the family is affected differently. That is why it is important that you, your child, and your family get the support and care you need during this difficult time. A special type of care called palliative (pal-lee-uh-tiv) care can help. Palliative care is a key part of care for children living with a serious illness. It offers an added layer of support based on your unique needs. Because you are the expert on your child and family, palliative care provides services that you consider important. Whether you are having difficulty managing your child’s condition and care or simply want extra support, palliative care can help.
What is palliative care? Palliative care can ease the symptoms, discomfort, and stress of serious illness for your child and family. Palliative care can help with your child’s illness and give support to your family. Your child can get palliative care wherever they receive care: in the hospital, during clinic visits, or at home.
- Ease your child’s pain and other symptoms of illness.
- Provide emotional and social support that respects your family’s cultural values.
- Help your child’s health care providers work together and communicate with one another to support your goals.
- Start open discussions with you, your child, and your health care team about options for care.
Many children need more than relief from symptoms. Palliative care can also help your child:
- Understand a diagnosis
- Communicate effectively with doctors
- Cope with concerns about school and friends
- Find ways to relax and play
Pediatric palliative care addresses serious medical conditions, including genetic disorders, cancer, prematurity, neurologic disorders, heart and lung conditions and others. It relieves the symptoms of these diseases, such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression. In short, it helps the child and the family improve their quality of life.
How can our family get palliative care? The palliative care process can begin when your child’s health care provider refers you to palliative care services. Or, you or your child can ask your provider for a referral if you feel that palliative care would be helpful for your child, your family, or yourself.
Your child does not need to be in hospice to get palliative care. Hospice care focuses on a person’s final months of life, but palliative care is available to your child at any time during a serious illness. Some children receive palliative care for many years. Some hospice programs require that patients are no longer getting treatments to cure their illness, but palliative care is different—it can be given at the same time as other treatments for your child’s illness.