Enhancing the quality of life for people living with advanced illness
What is palliative care?
- Palliation means relief of symptoms, easing pain and offering support.
- Palliative care helps patients and families find assistance in their community when they need it.
- Palliative care strives to relieve suffering.
- Palliative care provides support for a comfortable and compassionate dying process.
What does palliative care really mean?
- Treatment of pain and relief of symptoms that interfere with quality of life.
- Support when you feel anxious, depressed or lose hope.
- Greater understanding about the patient's medical care plan.
- Connection with other people involved in the care of a loved one.
- Support that continues for you and your family during times of illness, change or loss.
What types of patients benefit from palliative care?
Palliative care can benefit patients and families living with:
- Chronic lung disease/Emphysema
- Heart disease/heart failure
- Alzheimer's disease
- Other advanced illness, e.g., HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson's and people awaiting transplantation
What does symptom management mean?
Symptoms are unpleasant physical sensations or feelings. They may include pain, anxiety, insomnia, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue/weakness, headache, constipation, vomiting, nausea or loss of appetite.
Palliative care takes an active approach to controlling symptoms so you can function at your best possible level.
What is a palliative care team?
The palliative care team is a partnership between the patient, family members, friends and others that may include:
- Your personal physician
- Hospital and visiting nurses
- Palliative Care physicians
- Palliative Care nurses
- Palliative Care nurse practitioners
- Social workers
- Others as needed (e.g., physical therapist)
What will this team do?
- Provide physical, emotional and spiritual care that honors and respects your wishes
- Provide information about your medications
- Help you understand why it is so important to tell your doctors about your wishes regarding health care decisions that could affect your future care should you no longer be able to speak for yourself
- Support you and your family when you are worried about becoming a burden, loneliness and isolation or feeling like things are out of control
- Fear of dying
Who pays for palliative care?
Most insurance companies pay for the services of the palliative care team. Any service not covered by your insurance will be discussed prior to initiating the non-covered service.
When is palliative care appropriate?
- When you first become ill with a life-threatening disease
- When you are receiving treatment
- After many months or years of struggling with a chronic disease
- At the end of life
- When you are grieving and experiencing loss
How do I or my family request palliative care?
For More Information
Please contact Linda Blum, R.N., N.P. at 415-600-4576 for more information on the Calfornia Pacific Palliative Care Program.
The Palliative Care Program is made possible by the generous support of donors through the California Paicific Medical Center Foundation. For more information on the CPMC Foundation or ways to give, please call 415-600-4400.