Palliative Care is an interdisciplinary team approach that focuses on the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients with serious illness. Provided simultaneously with other medical treatments, Palliative Care assures comfort, dignity and quality of life. This type of care offers an additional level of support for patients and families as they negotiate the health care system.
Who is the Palliative Care team?
Team members include physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, chaplains and other professionals with specialized training and expertise in helping patients with serious illness or injury.
The Palliative Care team:
- Ensures that the patient's wishes and goals of care are in line with the treatment plan.
- Enhances communication by arranging family meetings with the health care team, as needed.
- Provides guidance and support during overwhelming clinical situations.
- Contributes to shared understanding and resolution of differing opinions regarding goals of care, advance directives (documents that spell out the kind of medical care the patient would want if he/she were too ill or hurt to express his/her wishes) and treatment choices.
- Helps patient and family manage difficult physical, spiritual or emotional distress.
- Works closely with the patient's physicians and other members of the health care team.
When is Palliative Care appropriate?
This type of care is appropriate when: