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Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is supportive medical care that focuses on relieving pain, symptoms and the stress of serious illness. Its goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to ensure the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.

Who Can Benefit

People of any age and at all stages of an illness can benefit from palliative care, which can be provided at the same time as curative treatment. However, it is especially helpful for individuals with life-limiting or progressive, severe illness, including (but not limited to) cancer, cardiac disease, respiratory disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s or advanced dementia, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS).

How it Helps

Palliative care can help relieve symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and/or difficulty sleeping. In some cases, by relieving these symptoms during treatments or procedures such as chemotherapy or surgery, palliative care can help patients recover from their illness.

It also improves people’s ability to carry on with daily life, tolerate medical treatments and better understand their medical condition and choices about care. And it allows palliative care clinicians to communicate closely with patients, families and other health care providers. This helps ensure that everyone has a shared understanding of the patient's values and treatment goals.

Insurance and Palliative Care

Most insurance plans cover all or a portion of the palliative care treatment provided in the hospital. This is similar to other hospital and medical services, and is true of both Medicare and Medicaid. If you have financial questions or concerns, please ask one of the palliative care team members to assist you.

How to Contact Us

Contacting the service is easy and confidential. Start by talking with your attending doctor or your nurse. Make your wishes for palliative care known to your family and caregivers. The Palliative Care Consult Service can be contacted at (360) 486-6402. Messages are taken 24 hours a day.

Palliative Care Online Resources