Palliative care is a physician-led interdisciplinary team approach to providing relief of suffering for patients with advanced illness through pain and symptom management. The goal is to provide comfort and maintain the highest possible quality of life for as long as possible. Our palliative care team is dedicated to providing highly specialized, compassionate care that focuses on the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of patients and families living with advanced illnesses, regardless of prognosis.
Who Provides Palliative Care At Our Lady Of The Lake?
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) with training in palliative care conducts the initial palliative care evaluation at the request of patient, family or any member of the healthcare team. Upon completion of the evaluation, the CNS may consult with other members of the interdisciplinary team including nurses, pharmacists, social workers, case managers, respiratory therapists, dieticians, and physical, occupational and speech therapists. Chaplains who are experienced in providing aggressive symptom relief and family support are also part of the palliative care team. Based on the patient's evaluation, the primary care physician may request a palliative care consult with a physician who is specially trained in palliative care.
Who Can Benefit From A Palliative Care Evaluation?
Palliative care benefits any patient with symptoms which are difficult to control such as nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and pain, and any patient for whom quality of life can be improved.
Examples of illnesses in patients who can benefit from palliative care are:
- End-stage heart failure
- Coronary artery disease
- Cancer patients
- Stroke patients
- Patients with a dementing illness who continue to decline
- Any patient with frequent hospitalization due to chronic illness
- ESRD (end-stage renal disease)
Who Can Request A Palliative Care Evaluation?
The patient's physician, the patient, a family member, another caregiver or healthcare professional can request a palliative care evaluation. The admitting physician/primary doctor is notified of the request for a palliative care evaluation.