Palliative Medicine Q&A

Palliative Medicine Q & A

What is Palliative Medicine?

Palliation is defined as “relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder.” Many people mistakenly believe this means palliative care can only be provided when a patient can’t be cured. Actually, palliative medicine can be provided by one doctor, while other doctors work with the patient to cure an illness.

Palliative care is for people of any age, and at any stage in an illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic or life threatening. In fact, palliative care may actually help patients recover from their illness by relieving symptoms such as pain, anxiety or loss of appetite, as they undergo sometimes difficult medical treatments or procedures, such as surgery or chemotherapy.

The overall goal of palliative medicine is to improve the patient’s and family’s quality of life during an illness.

What type of physician can practice Palliative Medicine?

Every physician should be able to provide general palliative care. Physicians and Nurse Practitioners can be specially trained in palliative care by undertaking extra studies/hours that allow them to become Board Certified in Palliative Medicine.

Why is Palliative Medicine Important?

Oftentimes, side effects of medical treatments can cause a variety of physical, as well as psychological symptoms. Palliative care focuses on preventing or easing pain, stress and suffering to offer the best quality of life possible to both the patient and family. Palliative care is beneficial at any stage of illness because it complements treatments, which are meant to cure the patient.

What is the difference between Palliative Medicine and Hospice?

Palliative care is for anyone with a serious illness, while hospice care is generally for those in the final stages of illness who are no longer seeking curative treatment. You can receive palliative care at any age and any stage of an illness, and palliative care can be provided in conjunction with curative treatment and is not dependent on prognosis.

How can the patient and family benefit from palliative care?

Patients can benefit by having more control over their care in a comfortable and supportive atmosphere that reduces anxiety and stress. They can also expect relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. Palliative care addresses the whole person. It helps patients carry on with their daily life and improves their ability to go through medical treatments. It can also help them to better understand their condition and choices for medical care. In short, they can expect the best possible quality of life.

Palliative care can help everyone involved! Patients as well as family caregivers are the special focus of palliative care. The patient’s doctors and nurses benefit too, because they know they are meeting the patient’s needs by providing care and treatment that reduces suffering and improves your quality of life.

Can a patient receiving palliative care continue to see their regular physicians?

Palliative care provides an extra layer of support and works in partnership with your primary doctor. Your primary doctor will continue to direct your care and play an active role in your treatment.

How does palliative care augment care provided by my physician?

PMC can improve the efficiency of other physicians treating the patient. PMC can address goals of care and symptoms, helping patients and families better understand their illness and set goals for treatment. Managing symptoms and having sincere discussions with patients and families about what they want and what they want to avoid, PMC can improve the care being given to patients by other physicians involved in the patient’s care.

Is palliative care covered by insurance?

Most insurance plans cover all or part of the palliative care treatment you receive, just as with other hospital and medical services. This is also true of Medicare and Medicaid.

Who is Palliative Medical Calls and how is care received?

PMC is a provider network that includes physicians and nurse practitioners experienced in palliative care. What’s unique about PMC is that we’ve been able to take what’s currently being done in hospital settings and bring it out into the community. PMC specifically seeks out patients who have difficulty getting to the doctor’s office, or those who don’t have caregivers who can take them to the doctor’s office … PMC brings the care to them at home. PMC services are extremely beneficial for cancer patients who are receiving treatment … those who experience immune suppression that make them more susceptible to illness.

How does Palliative Medical Calls help cancer patients receiving treatment?

For cancer patients who are undergoing treatments, PMC can help to provide symptom management that can help them feel better and anticipate problems that could keep them from receiving treatment.

Can Palliative Medical Calls keep me from going back into the hospital or from having to go to the emergency room?

One of the primary reasons patients go back and forth between the ER or hospital and home is unmanaged symptoms. If PMC is involved, we are able to manage those symptoms better, anticipating problems and helping to keep patients out of the hospital and ER.

How can a Palliative Medical Call be initiated?

Contact the Corporate office of Homedica at 225-766-4133 or an office in your area. Locations in Louisiana and Mississippi are listed on our contact us page.