Palliative Care Q&A

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is health care for individuals of any age who have a chronic, life-limiting illness. The goal of palliative care is to ease pain and symptoms and provide support and information to patients and their loved ones.

The Palliative Care team works with a patient's physician to determine the best medical plan of care.

What is the focus of palliative care?

Palliative care addresses the patient's medical, emotional and spiritual needs. It offers support to patients and their caregivers. Palliative care encourages discussion between patients, families and health care professionals in determining the patient's goals and medical plan of care.

As a patient's disease progresses, the palliative care team adjusts its support services to the patient and family as their needs change.

What difference can palliative care make?

Palliative care makes a better quality of life possible for patients and their loved ones by providing the best possible quality of care.

Who can receive palliative care?

Patients with chronic, long-term or life-limiting illnesses are appropriate for palliative care. Palliative care is available to individuals to help with pain management, relief of suffering and education on their disease progression and prognosis.

How can palliative care help family members?

Family members are included in the plan of care, and the palliative care team provides support and information to them as well as the patient.

Who are the palliative care team members?

The palliative care team is an interdisciplinary group of professionals who provide physical, emotional and spiritual care to patients as needed to assist the patient's physician. The palliative care team members are Marsha Duke Fretwell, MD, Bonnie Parsons, RN, MSN, GNP-CS, Linda Murchison, LCSW, chaplains, physical and occupational therapists, complementary therapists (healing arts therapists can include music, art and massage therapists) and other team members as needed.

Who can refer a patient to the palliative care team?

Anyone can call the palliative care team at 910-332-0279 or 888-521-4184 for information or to make a referral to receive palliative care.

What happens when a patient is referred to the palliative care team?

The palliative care physician and advanced practice nurse will meet with the patient first. They will determine the goals of care with the patient and family and the patient's physician and decide which other team members are needed.

How are palliative care services billed?

Medicare and most private insurance companies can be billed for palliative care consultations.

What is the World Health Organization definition of palliative care?

The World Health Organization says palliative care should:

Respect patient autonomy, values and decisions

Continually clarify the goals of care
Minimize symptom distress
Assist in alleviating suffering
Optimize appropriate supportive interventions and consultations
Reduce unnecessary interventions
Support families by coordinating services
Facilitate the transition to alternative care settings when appropriate
Provide bereavement services for family and staff
How can I find out more about the palliative care team?

Call the palliative care team at 910-332-0279 or 888-521-4184 to find out the difference palliative care can make in your life and the life of your loved ones.

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