Palliative Care and Hospice
Compassionate End-of-Life Care Starts Here
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is the medical specialty focused on improving overall quality of life for patients and families facing serious illness. Palliative care supports the patient’s and family’s goals and preferences as they relate to medical treatment. Emphasis is placed on relieving pain and other distressing physical, spiritual and emotional symptoms that often accompany serious illness and enhancing communication and coordination of care.
Palliative care is provided by a team of professionals working together with your primary doctor. It is appropriate at any point in a serious illness and can be provided at the same time as treatment that is meant to cure or control a disease or illness. Following are some of the more frequently asked questions we receive related to our palliative care program:
SNCH has a very active Palliative Care program staffed by a physician, a nurse practitioner and an administrative nursing staff member who specialize in Palliative care. Pastoral care liaisons, social work, care managers, pharmacists, nutritionists and others are also part of the team.
You may request a palliative care consult or you can ask any staff member or your physician to request this service for you. A Palliative Care Consultation request can be made by calling 516-632-4200. Hours of consultation are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
Recommendations for your treatment plan will be made after the team assesses you and your specific needs including your goals, values, cultural and religious beliefs and the care preferences for you and your family. All of these needs are included into your plan of care.
The palliative care team may use medication, non-medication and complementary/supportive therapies in the treatment of your physical, psychological, social and spiritual symptoms or needs. The palliative care team will speak and work with your health care team and community providers to ensure coordination of palliative care while you are in the hospital and will assist the team in getting you home or to another setting of care.
Hospice is a program that provides both palliative care and specialized hospice services for people who are near the end of life and for their families. Hospice care can be provided at home, in a hospice or another freestanding facility, or within the hospital while arranging for the most appropriate setting of care for you.
The goal of hospice treatment is to keep you comfortable and improve your quality of life when your disease has advanced and “cure” is not possible or desired. This philosophy is a shift from usual medical treatments, in which health professionals strive to cure your disease. Hospice services are not intended to speed up or prolong the dying process. They focus instead on relieving pain and other symptoms. Hospice caregivers are concerned with enhancing the quality of remaining life by keeping you as alert and comfortable as possible in a familiar environment with family and friends.
Hospice services generally include:
Hospice care is for patients approaching the last stages of their life. Your doctor and the health care team will discuss all aspects of this decision with you. A meeting with your team can be arranged for you and your family to discuss your individual concerns and plans.
Three (3) hospice care providers work with the South Nassau team. They are:
Most of the time, hospice care is provided in your home. A family member or loved one will generally look after you much of the time. You will have a specially trained medical team and support staff available to help you and your family cope with the physical and emotional changes that accompany the final days of your life. Although the hospice doctor is part of the medical team, your regular doctor can continue to care for you. Your loved ones will work with the hospice team to give you the best care possible.
The Hospice Care providers also have agreements with care facilities that provide specialized hospice services. The hospital and hospice staff wil assist you in transitioning your care to one of these facilities. While you are waiting to go home or to the facility of your choice, the Hospice team that you have selected will continue to support your care at the hospital.
SNCH’S Social Work Department and Palliative Care Team is here to assist you with any questions or concerns regarding palliative care or hospice services and can be contacted at (516) 632-3925 or (516) 632-4200, respectively.
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