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Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness - whatever the diagnosis.

The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with a patient's health care team to provide an extra layer of support. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

How does palliative care differ from hospice care?
Palliative Care is not hospice care. Palliative care is intended for people with complex illnesses that are seeking aggressive, curative medical treatment but need additional support, symptom management and chronic disease education. Hospice care is a benefit available to patients with a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of 6 months or less that no longer want or qualify for curative medical treatment.  

Who can receive palliative care?
• Patients with advanced/chronic illness who have difficulty managing symptoms.
• Individuals whose quality of life is compromised by their illness or treatments.
• A person living with an illness such as, but not limited to, cancer, heart, lung, liver or renal disease; neurological diseases such as stroke or ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease; multiple sclerosis; or dementia.
• An individual who has frequent re-hospitalizations or emergency department visits.

What are the benefits of palliative care?
The goal of palliative care is to improve the patient’s quality of life by providing aggressive pain and symptom management, counseling and coordination of care. The palliative care team may also assist the patient and family with decision-making by exploring their goals, wishes and treatment options, as well as determining prognosis and promoting communication within the family and with the health care team.

Expert treatment of symptoms:    
• Pain       
• Problems with breathing    
• Nausea/vomiting     
• Constipation/diarrhea     
• Problems with appetite     
• Difficulty sleeping     
• Depression/anxiety

Guidance and support:
• Exploration of goals and wishes regarding medical care
• Assistance with advance care planning and directives
• Help with understanding medications and treatments

What is a palliative care consultation?
To ensure palliative care is right for you or a family member, we can work with you every step of the way in your healthcare journey.

Inpatient Palliative Care
• Patients admitted to Akron General Medical Center may be eligible for a consultation by our inpatient team with a physician order. Board certified physicians, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Pharmacists work as a team to evaluate, provide symptom management and help coordinate care based upon a patient’s goals.

Palliative Care in the Community
• Consultation services are provided through Akron General Visiting Nurse Service by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Registered Nurses with specialty training in palliative care. They work closely with the patient’s physician and/or other members of the healthcare team to evaluate, provide symptom management and help coordinate care based upon a patient’s goals.

How is palliative care covered?
Visits from the palliative care team are billed directly to most private and government insurance plans, including Medicare Part B.

How do I initiate a palliative care consultation?
We are here to answer all of your questions and to help direct you to the services you need. You or your loved one can request a consult with the palliative care team. Simply ask your doctor or nurse to make the call.

For more information, please call Inpatient Palliative Services at 330-344-6114 or Outpatient Palliative Services at 330-745-1601.

 Date Updated: 17-AUG-2015

Akron General Medical Center • 1 Akron General Avenue (Formerly 400 Wabash Avenue) • Akron, OH 44307 • 330-344-6000 • 1-800-221-4601    © 2015 Akron General Health System
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