Patient Palliative Care

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Palliative Care vs Hospice Care
“Palliative care is specialized health care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of an illness, and it is based on need, not prognosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of physicians, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment (CAPC, 2017).” 
Curative treatment refers to health care practices that treat patients with the intent of curing them, not just reducing their pain or stress. An example is chemotherapy, which seeks to cure cancer patients. You do not have to stop curative treatment or have a terminal diagnosis to receive palliative care, palliative care is not the same as end of life care.
When the goal is no longer curative treatment, hospice care focuses on physical, emotional, and spiritual needs including comfort, pain management, and relief of symptoms. Hospice is appropriate for anyone that has a condition that is considered terminal and has a life expectancy of six months or less if their disease or condition runs its normal course. Hospice care focuses on end of life support for patients, families, and caregivers.

Palliative Care

Hospice Care

May take place in the home, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or clinic setting. In rural areas, there may not be a Palliative Care team but the intent of Palliative Care can be met by a primary care provider or specialist.

May be delivered in the home, assisted living, or long term care facility.

Can differ between facilities and organizations. Typically Palliative Care is provided by a physician and/or advanced practice nurse.  The Palliative Care team may also include a registered nurse, social worker, chaplain, pharmacist, registered dietician, and therapist in order to offer an extra layer of support and address the needs of the whole person.

Is provided by a team that may include a doctor and/or advanced practice nurse, registered nurse, social worker, certified nursing assistant, and chaplain.

The Palliative Care team works with the patient and family to establish goals of care. There are many treatment options when faced with a serious illness that impacts both quantity and quality of life. Decisions are influenced by an individual’s values and preferences, understanding an individual’s goals of care allows providers to align care with what is most important to the patient and his or her family. Goals of care conversations should occur early and often throughout the course of an illness.

Telephonic 24-hour on-call support.

The Palliative Care team can help with Advanced Care Planning including: living wills, durable power of attorney, the MOST form, and CPR directives (full, partial, or no CPR wishes).

Appropriate for patients with a prognosis/ diagnosis of 6 months or less.

Can help manage physical symptoms that may include pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and depression. They also offer support for psychological, social, and existential/spiritual symptoms that may arise during the course of a patient’s illness.

Goals of care are aligned with no longer pursuing treatment and/or aggressive interventions but more focused on comfort care.

Maybe appropriate for individuals with a life-limiting illness, multiple hospitalizations and/or ER visits, uncertainty regarding prognosis, unanticipated weight loss, uncontrolled symptoms, and/or decreased ability to perform daily activities.

Can help manage physical symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting. Team members may also provide emotional and social support and address spiritual needs.

Patient Palliative Care Resources:
Information about what palliative care is and can help you find a palliative care provider in your area.
Increasing access to palliative and hospice services to residents of Colorado and Wyoming. Information on hospice and palliative care, advanced care planning, and help finding a palliative care provider in your area.
National resources on palliative care, advanced care planning, and caregiver support.
Colorado-based organization that offers information and resources on palliative care and advanced care planning.  Primarily supporting patients and families through advanced illness.
Information and resources on palliative and hospice care, including patient stories illustrating how palliative care can improve overall quality of life.
Promotes public policy to advance the care of people with serious and advanced illness.
A leading palliative care physician that explains palliative care and why to have conversations on goals of care.