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.
Arranging a consultation for a hospitalized patient
One portion of our team works specifically with patients who are still in the hospital. If you or a loved one is in the hospital and if you think palliative care might be helpful, please talk with your attending provider. Ask for a palliative care consultation. The attending provider will contact us, and we will meet you in your or your loved one's hospital room.
Providence Community Palliative Care
Providence Community Palliative Care is the outpatient portion of our program. At this clinic, we serve patients who are mobile but have chronic, complicated or life-limited illnesses. A referral from the patient’s primary care provider is required.
- Consultation for medical evaluation, support and follow-up
- Management of symptoms and side effects
- Support for psychological, emotional, social and spiritual concerns
- Coordination of care
- Social work to help patients and families navigate the complex health care system
- Counseling to help patients and families manage the impact of illness
- Grief support, including anticipatory bereavement counseling
- Follow-up care for patients who received palliative care during their hospital stay
A registered nurse is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday – Friday to receive referrals and answer questions. For an appointment or if you have questions, please call 360-486-6402.
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.
Palliative Care Team
At Providence St. Peter Hospital, palliative care is provided by specially trained doctors, nurses and mid-level providers. Depending on the need, the palliative care doctors, nurses or both will meet with the patient. In addition, the care team works closely with the hospital’s social workers, case managers, chaplains, dietitians, pharmacists and other therapists — including physical, occupational, speech, music and pet therapies.Members of the Palliative Care Team include:
- Kathy Burrell, ARNP
- Jean Carter, ARNP
- Aisha Choudhry, MD
- Jeri Donahue, MSN, ARNP, FNP
- Matt Louie, M.D.
- Sarah Merrifield, M.D.
Medical Director for PSPH Inpatient Svs
Gregg VandeKieft, M.D.
SWR Palliative Care Medical Director
- Cheryl Waitkevich, ARNP
- Debbie Sinclair, RN (PCH)
- Emily Jerdee, RN
- Shanae Bezusko, MSW
- Genevieve Bainbridge, MSW
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. Team members are available to see patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Palliative Care Online Resources