Palliative Care & Support Services Program
Studies have indicated that by providing patients and their families with strong emotional, spiritual and psychosocial support and adequate pain management – or palliative care – from the time of diagnosis, patients would have a much better chance of survival, families would experience less trauma and it would cost no more money – it might actually save money. Palliative Care and Support Services reduces confusion around care, prevents unnecessary emergency room visits and ensure that the family has a local support team to care for them.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is a philosophy of care that prevents and relieves suffering, improves quality of life, and helps with personal growth. It is an organized, highly-structured care model that enhances disease-based treatment, assists with decision-making, and is either rendered along with life-prolonging treatment or as the main focus of care. Palliative Care differs from hospice as it is ideally utilized at the initial point of diagnosis of a life-limiting illness and patients can receive palliative care while still pursing therapies aimed at either cure or pain-mitigation.
Benefits of Palliative Care
Currently, most patients experience a lack of coordination in their care that in turn breeds poor communication about care options. As crises occur, patients tend to use hospitals and emergency rooms as their default care provider. To counteract such fragmentation, PAMF has launched an integrated Palliative Care and Support Services program to avoid duplication of treatments, foster open discussion between patients and healthcare providers, and place patient comfort as a top priority. In this integrated program, patients are cared for on a case-management basis by an interdisciplinary team that includes an advanced-practice nurse, a social worker, a physician, and support staff. Research shows that the right support for patients with advanced chronic illnesses will enable them to experience improved quality of live.
Highlights of Palliative Care
- Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
- Empowers patients to manage their health
- Helps patients manage their symptoms and provide comfort
- Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
- Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
- Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients' illness and in their own bereavement
- Uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families
- Enhances quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness
- Is applicable early in the course of illness in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life
Backed by Sutter Health, the PAMF Palliative Care and Support Services program was launched in Santa Cruz in early 2011 and will roll out organization-wide in the next two years. For more information on how you can support this program, please contact Shannon Brady, senior gift officer, at 831-458-6930 or e-mail email@example.com.
Make a donation to the Palliative Care and Support program