Palliative Care 

Addressing your emotional, spiritual, cultural, social, and psychological needs

If you or someone you know is struggling to manage difficult symptoms, the rigor of medical treatment, or even daily life while dealing with serious or chronic illness, palliative care may be answer.  

The Aurora BayCare palliative care team will address the needs of individuals living with chronic, and often painful, disabling health conditions.

What is Palliative Care?

In once sense, all health care is palliative, because the verb "to palliate" means to soothe (without curing), to comfort, to alleviate, or at least lessen someone's pain and suffering. Whenever a person is sick, whether with an acute disease or because of a long-term disability, or is dealing with the aches and pains of natural aging, efforts to comfort, soothe and care for that person can rightly be called "palliative care."

Anyone attempting to cope with a serious or chronic illness may benefit from palliative care.  With palliative care, the intent is to provide you with the best quality of life possible.

Individuals who seek palliative care cope with a broad range of illnesses, including advanced heart, lung, and kidney disease, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.

Palliative care is holistic care.  Palliative care focuses on managing pain and other symptoms, while also addressing your emotional, spiritual, cultural, social, and psychological needs. 

Palliative Care is Not Hospice Care

Palliative care is often confused with hospice care.  While it is true that individuals in hospice receive palliative care, hospice care is specifically for those with a life expectancy of six months or less.  Palliative care is appropriate at any life stage—from infants and children receiving palliative care to the elderly.  Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of serious illness when life-extending treatment is still an option and still desired. 

Your Palliative Care Team

Your palliative care team is determined by your needs.  Doctors and nurses who specialize in palliative care, your family physician, a pharmacist, registered nurse, certified nurse assistant, clergy, and medical social workers might all provide palliative care.  Your team may change as your needs change. Together, we can help you identify and coordinate your team of care.

Benefits To You

Working with palliative care specialists, you will:

  • Better understand your condition and your choices for medical care
  • Get additional support for addressing distressing symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, appetite loss, and difficulty sleeping
  • Collaborate with the team to outline your personal goals of care in order to maintain an optimal quality of life

Where is Palliative Care Provided?

Palliative care is most often provided in your home. It can also be provided in most any living environment including hospitals and assisted living facilities.

Funding Palliative Care

Medicare or Medicaid funds palliative care when you meet specific requirements.  You may have coverage through your private insurance.  Or, you can choose to pay privately for services.

The palliative care team can provide assistance with financial concerns and serves as a resource for funding options. Talk with your physician about whether palliative care is right for you. You will need a doctor’s orders to begin palliative care services. 

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