Palliative Care Program
“Palliative care” means patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Having this type of care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information, and choice.
What is Palliative Home Health Care?
It is comfort care given to a patient who has a serious or life-threatening disease such as cancer, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s, among others, from the time of diagnosis and throughout the course of illness. It is usually provided by a specialist who works with a team of other health care professionals. Palliative nurses, physical/occupational therapists, and social workers, working in conjunction with your doctors and specialists.
Palliative home health specialists may also make recommendations to primary care physicians about the management of pain and other symptoms. People do not give up their primary care physician to receive palliative care.
Palliative home health is different from hospice care. Although they share the same principles of comfort and support, palliative care begins at diagnosis and continues during treatment and beyond.
Palliative care addresses the emotional, physical, practical, and spiritual issues of terminal illness.
What is the difference between Traditional Home Health and Palliative Home Health?
Traditional home health services is offered to those with brief illness or debilitating circumstances that are not considered terminal.
Palliative home health is provided to patients facing terminal illness who wish to continue life extending or curative treatment or need more time to explore options.
The palliative team is better prepared to handle the needs of patients facing terminal illness because they are experienced in providing services to palliative care patients. This team is also available to transition the patient to hospice care if and when that decision is made.
Because palliative home health combines the medical model of traditional home health and the psychosocial model of hospice, visits are often longer in duration, however the frequency of visits follows the traditional home health model.
While the length of a palliative home health visit is similar to hospice, the visit frequency an also be as often as as in hospice if needed.
Who can benefit from the services of palliative home health care?
All members of the palliative team are trained to provide services to palliative and hospice patients, so they have a unique understanding of the needs of those facing terminal illness. Team members include:
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse Practitioners
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Registered Nurses/Licensed Practical Nurses
- Certified Nursing Assistants
- Social Workers
Though palliative home health visits are less frequent than hospice visits, the patient and family are provided similar services as those received by a hospice patient from the same qualified and compassionate staff.
Download our Care Program guide here.