By Richard I. Sternberg, D.O., F.C.C.P.
Medical Director, Hospice of Southwest Ohio
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to medical care for people with both acute and chronic serious illness. Patients may have physical, psychological, social, or spiritual issues because of their disease or treatment. Palliative care serves to lessen pain, control symptoms and improve stress for the both the patient and family. Ultimately, the goal is improving quality of life, assisting with medical decisions and more importantly navigating the healthcare system
What medical disease states that might benefit?
Any patient living with serious, chronic illnesses such as cancer, COPD, congestive heart failure, heart disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, neurologic conditions such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), stroke victims, HIV/ Aids etc.
What palliative care provides to you and your family?
1. Time to devote to intensive family meetings facilitating patient and family communication.
2. Communication and support for resolving family/patient/physician questions concerning the goals of care.
3. Expertise in managing complex physical and emotional symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, depression, nausea, and much more.
4. Coordination of care transitions across health care settings.
Who provides this specialized care
Palliative care is provided by a team of physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists and other health care professionals who work in conjunction with the primary care physician and referring specialists to provide an extra layer of support. This specialized care can be provided in the home, ECF, independent living facilities and your local hospital.
How is Palliative Care different than hospice?
Hospice and palliative care provide similar goals of providing pain management and symptom relief. Palliative care can be provided to anyone with any chronic illness, at any time without restriction to disease or prognosis. Hospice care involves palliative care, but there is no intent to cure the patient and that a patient has less than six months to live if the disease follows its usual course. These are two very different programs, yet they share the same goals and beliefs.
CareBridge Palliative Care of Cincinnati offers services provided by a team of dedicated physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and chaplains who are there to help relieve pain and suffering associated with any illness, at any time.