Palliative Medicine For Pain and Symptom Management
What is Palliative Medicine?
Palliative medicine is a specialized medical approach to optimize quality of life by anticipating or preventing, and treating pain and suffering. Like hospice, palliative medicine is provided by a team of professionals who treat the patient and family, addressing their medical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. For individuals with complex medical conditions, our interdisciplinary team coordinates care delivery with your physician to reduce pain and manage symptoms.
The palliative care process begins with a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s ailments. An expert in palliative medicine then recommends interventions that are helpful in meeting the patients’ and families’ goals. Weighing the burden of treatment options against the potential benefit, we counsel patients about their options, respecting their right to choose their course of treatment. Throughout their chosen treatment, our palliative medical team monitors and treats symptoms and side effects, with a goal of maintaining quality of life in their home environment.
The intent of the palliative medicine program is to provide a full measure of choice and control to patients and families at a time when those choices are most important. The Jewish Home Center for Palliative Medicine responds to a need in the community for an alternative to hospice care that allows patients with significant disease to continue to seek curative care while having their symptoms aggressively managed.
Who Benefits from Palliative Medicine?
Anyone who has experienced or is experiencing uncontrolled symptoms related to surgery or chronic illness including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney illness
- ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Dementia / Alzheimer's disease
Qualifying for Palliative Medicine
For an assessment to enroll in the Jewish Home Center for Palliative Medicine, we only require your request for a palliative care consultation. Our service is covered under Medicare Part B or other direct commercial insurance. Patients continue to have full insurance coverage for any treatment option or hospitalization desired by the patient, and patients remain under the care of their primary physician. The Jewish Home Center for Palliative Medicine program may be discontinued at any time that the patient wishes, or when all goals of treatment have been met.
How is Palliative Medicine different from Hospice Care?
Both palliative medicine and hospice care focus on the larger perspective of a patient's needs and well-being, rather than high technology interventions as the course of an illness progresses. Care plans are tailored to the patients' and families' priorities and values, taking into consideration their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Patients are assigned a physician who coordinates care from a team of healthcare providers, and are followed by an RN.
Unlike hospice, patients who desire palliative medicine need not forego curative treatments as a condition of admission. Patients considering hospice service but still receiving chemotherapy, radiation, or similar life-extending treatments may opt for palliative medicine initially to manage their discomforts and current needs.
Hospice patients receive an inclusive benefit of home visits from multiple care team members, bathing assistance, equipment, medications, and supplies, coordinated by their interdisciplinary team. This typically is several weekly visits and additional 24-hour support as needed.
Palliative medicine patients receive an initial assessment to develop and implement their care plan. Once the treatment plan is in place, visits are much less frequent, typically once or twice per month, but are available to respond to changes in condition and pain level as needs arise.