Patients who have been diagnosed with a serious long-lasting disease such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, COPD, CHF or cancer are often faced with complex medical challenges making it difficult to live comfortable and productive lives. Palliative care, a fast-growing healthcare trend, is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving or managing discomfort and slowing the progress of an illness. It provides holistic approaches that help patients and caregivers manage the complexity of living with multiple diagnoses.
Diane Smith, is a nurse practitioner who specializes in palliative care. She provides such care for Kingston Care Center of Sylvania, a five star skilled nursing facility. “Often, my patients have multiple medical specialists and care providers who are primarily focused on treatment of an individual disease or symptom. A different doctor and prescription for each ailment can cause a variety of problems in the mind and body. My role is to work together with all the providers and to care for the person as a whole in order to determine the best treatment possible to gain better quality of life,” states Ms. Smith.
Pain management, bowel dysfunction, confusion, depression or fatigue, are some of the many symptoms that may be alleviated through palliative care. Palliative care, which can help people with long term chronic illness for years, should not be confused with hospice care, which is focused care and support through the last stages of life.
“We take great pride in having palliative specialists on staff at Kingston HealthCare,” explains Kathy Michaels, RN, Director of Quality Assurance for Kingston. “Over the years, we have seen that our patients and residents are living longer and requiring a higher level of care due to more complex diagnoses. We have made significant strides in our clinical care model to ensure that we make a difference in comfort and quality of life for people of all ages.”
Palliative care can help people make the best and safest decisions regarding their health transitions. In addition, patients can gain knowledge about the disease process, progression and lifespan expectancy.
Most insurance plans cover palliative care treatment in full or partially. If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about palliative care, or would like to find a specialist in your area, visit www.getpalliativecare.org.