What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is an interdisciplinary model of care focused on patients with serious illness, and their families. The goal of palliative care is to relieve or reduce pain and suffering and to enhance the patient’s quality of life from the time of diagnosis onward.
The Palliative Care Program at NWH provides support services to patients and their caregivers that enhance physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being. Palliative care services can also improve communication and coordination of care.
Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness, whether that illness is potentially curable, chronic or life threatening.
What is the difference between palliative care and hospice? View this video...
Visit our Health Education videos and click on What is Palliative Care?
Who are the Palliative Care Professionals?
The Palliative Care Program is multidisciplinary, consisting of healthcare professionals who coordinate and provide palliative care services. The Palliative Care Program includes physicians, nurses, pain management specialists, social workers, pastoral care, and integrative medicine professionals.
The physician can work with the patient and family on a palliative plan of care, pain and symptom management, discuss options available to the patient as well as coordinate care among the health care professionals providing care.
The nurses assist patients and families in understanding their plan of care, assist with education and information on palliative care options, as well as referral to appropriate team members.
The social workers can identify and address areas of concern for patients as well as their caregivers, provide emotional support to patient and well as family members, educate patient and family on stress management and coping skills. Social workers can provide patient and family with appropriate community resource information as well as initiate referrals to those agencies.
The social worker can act as liaison between patient, family and palliative care team members.
The pastoral care team can provide spiritual support and guidance to patients and their families.
Integrative medicine professionals can provide services that create an environment of healing and well-being. Integrative medicine combines complementary therapies with conventional medicine to address the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of healing. Available service modalities include aromatherapy, “m” Technique touch therapy, Reiki/energy healing and guided imagery.
How Can I Get a Referral for Palliative Care?
Patients and family members can request inpatient palliative care services through their physician or nurse. If you are not currently an inpatient and you feel you have unrelieved symptoms negatively affecting your quality of life, please discuss this with your doctor, and if appropriate you may be referred to palliative care services in your community.
Do I need a Health Care Proxy?
YES. A Health Care Proxy is a document that lets you name someone to make decisions about your medical care, including decisions about life support. By completing a Health Care Proxy Form you are appointing someone to speak for you anytime you are unable to make your own medical decisions, not only at the end of life.
Designate someone to speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself. Read about Advance Directives and Healthcare Proxy, or visit www.DoYourProxy.org for Frequently Asked Questions and how to get started.
Where Can I Find Additional Resources?
Caregivers can visit the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center.
- understand your cancer and treatment options
- find help with insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid
- find programs in your area for people with cancer
Call 1-800-227-2345 to talk with one of their Cancer Information Specialists or visit them online at www.cancer.org They are ready to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more information on The Palliative Care Program at NWH call 914.242.7914, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Also, visit our Treatments & Specialties Page to learn about other NWH services.