What is Palliative Care?
The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) defines Palliative Care as “specialized care for people with serious illnesses,” with the following characteristics:
- Focuses on relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness
- Aims to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family
- Provides an extra layer of support at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided along with curative treatment
CAPC further tasks the Palliative Care team with supporting the patient and the family, not only by controlling symptoms, but also by helping to understand treatment options and goals through:
- Expert management of pain and other symptoms
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Close communication
- Helping navigate the healthcare system
- Guidance with difficult and complex treatment choices
Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the patient. Members of our Palliative Care staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Our Palliative Care staff is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
The patient and their Palliative Care team will develop a plan of care that meets each need for pain management and symptom control. Our team usually consists of:
- Patients and their caregivers
- The patient’s personal physician
- Palliative care physician (or medical director), working alongside the patient’s primary care physician, providing medical guidance for the team
- Clinical Director overseeing the implementation, delivery, coordination and supervision of services provided in the home by the interdisciplinary team
- RN Case Managers, in consultation with the patient’s physician and program physician, are responsible for all aspects of care coordination and comfort
- RNs/LPNs monitor the care, the comfort, and provide education in the home
- Spiritual Counselors/Chaplains support the family and patient in their spiritual needs. All services are non-denominational and consistent with the patient’s individual beliefs and values
- Social Workers assist in identifying community resources and provide counseling and support for the patient and their family
Who should consider Palliative Care?
Seniors with serious illnesses experiencing some or all the following characteristics:
Needing relief from severe chronic symptoms, pain, and stress of serious illnesses
Having complex care as the result of multiple diseases requiring difficult and complex decisions to be made
Requiring many medications for disease and symptom control
Suffering from low quality of life for both the patient and the family
Desiring greater assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Receiving care from multiple health care professionals
Experiencing frequent health care episodes resulting in emergency hospitalizations or treatments
Seeking curative treatment but also needing additional assistance
What are the goals of Palliative Care?
Our program goals include:
- Being available to answer questions
- Providing the very best care available in our patients’ homes; increasing their ability to stay in their home
- Reducing calls to 911, trips to the emergency room, ICU stays and hospitalizations
- Enhancing communication and education with family allowing greater understanding of the disease and its effects
- Improving medication efficacy through proper management and review
- Lowering patient overall out-of-pocket health care expenses
- Providing end-of-life planning support including assistance with DNRs, funeral preparations, and advanced directives
- Searching for all available resources in the community to provide safe and coordinated assistance
- Providing in home spiritual care often missing from seniors’ lives with failing health
- Developing personal relationships with our patients and their families
There are major differences in the way Palliative Care is delivered.
Missouri Palliative & Hospice Care is a Christian principled company that strives to care for others with integrity, fairness, diligence, and generosity; doing what we say we will when we say we will to the best of our abilities.
If you or a loved one could benefit from our comprehensive approach to care, we welcome the opportunity to discuss it with you. Call us at (816) 401-9836 to learn more about the care you need and the comfort you deserve!