The focus of palliative care is to improve your quality of life through managing your symptoms. These may include pain, shortness of breath, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue and more. Palliative care is different from hospice because you do not have to have a life-limiting illness or be nearing the end of life to receive palliative care. Palliative care is for anyone with a serious illness or chronic condition.
While receiving palliative care, you also may receive curative treatments. For example, if you have cancer, you may receive drugs and other therapies aimed at curing the cancer while you also receive palliative care to help you manage the side effects of your treatment.
Lake Regional's palliative care team will provide you with education and guidance. They will explain your treatment options and help you think through your health care goals. These conversations will help you make choices that support what's important to you.
Lake Regional offers palliative care to three groups of patients:
- Hospitalized patients
- Lake Regional Cancer Center patients
- Patients who have two or more chronic conditions
Patients admitted to Lake Regional Hospital and those receiving care at Lake Regional Cancer Center receive palliative care through a consult. Nurses trained in palliative care will meet with the patient and family to discuss disease-related issues. The nurses work with a team of palliative care providers, including physicians, social workers, pharmacists, dietitians and a chaplain, to help manage symptoms and assist patients in meeting their health care goals.
To be eligible for Lake Regional's Chronic Care Management program, patients must have two or more chronic conditions, such as arthritis, COPD, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, depression or some other ongoing medical problem. Participants also must have a Lake Regional primary care provider and be enrolled in Medicare.
In this program, you will connect with a Lake Regional nurse who will serve as your case manager. This individual will work with you and your various health care providers to ensure everyone is on the same page. Your nurse case manager also will call you at least once a month to see how you are doing, and you can call your nurse as often as needed with questions. Ask about your conditions, tests, treatments, medications, appointments and other concerns.
Your nurse case manager also provides palliative care. Palliative care focuses on helping patients manage symptoms — such as pain, nausea, weakness and shortness of breath — for improved quality of life. Be sure to talk about your symptoms and goals with your nurse.
If you are interested in enrolling, ask your Lake Regional primary care provider for a referral. For more information on how the program can help you, call 573.302.2281.