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Managing a Life-Limiting Illness with Palliative Care

Submitted by Hospice of Marion County

Managing a Life-Limiting Illness  with Palliative CareWhile more than 2 million people die each year in the U.S. from advanced illnesses, not everyone receives the specialized comfort care called palliative care that they could get. Research has shown that not all patients’ pain is adequately assessed and managed, especially in chronic, life-limiting illnesses. Why you may ask? There are various reasons which are explored in this article along with providing an understanding of what we mean by palliative care.

Pain is a multi-dimensional experience
Although there have been advances in pain management, sometimes managing a person’s pain is limited by what is reported to their physician, the patient’s inability to express their symptoms, fear of side effects and therefore hiding their level of pain, the lack of understanding by the physician and expertise in pain management, and even regulations concerning medications may impede relief.

End-of-life care and palliative care both focuses on pain and symptom management, but palliative care does so along with life-extending disease management. If you’re experiencing an advanced illness with chronic pain, it can be all consuming trying to function on a daily basis. That’s where palliative care, also called comfort care, can help manage pain and control symptoms. Accessing palliative care enables you to enjoy a higher quality of life while undergoing medical treatments. It’s as simple as requesting a consultation for palliative care from your physician.

Hospice of Marion County’s Center for Comprehensive Palliative Care (CCPC) provides the highest quality comfort care to those with life-limiting diseases. “If patients are wondering about the cost, Medicare and most private insurance companies can be billed for palliative care consultations,” says CCPC Program Manager at Hospice of Marion County, Billie Woodham. Adding, “Our goal is to offer patient-centered, family-focused comfort care, helping enhance the client’s quality of life.”

The CCPC team works with a patient’s physician to determine the best medical plan of care, and can assist in the following ways:
• Aids in pain and symptom management
• Assists with relief of suffering – physical, emotional or psychosocial
• Reviews the course of a disease and goals of care with patient/family
• Assists attending physician, patient or family with development of palliative plan of care
• Establishes the best possible quality of care as determined by patient and family
• Helps complete documentation of advance directives
• Explains pros and cons of forgoing specific treatment and/or diagnostic treatments
• Facilitate transition to alternate care settings, such as home, nursing home or hospice if appropriate

We encourage open discussion between patients and other health care professionals in determining the patient’s goals and medical plan of care. Physicians can refer a patient by calling the Center for Comprehensive Palliative Care at (352) 291-5881. Visit our website to learn more: http://www.marionpalliativecare.com/

 

 

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