When a person is affected by a serious illness, its challenges go far beyond physical health. Coping with long-term and limiting conditions often causes stress, emotional turmoil, and unexpected complications with tasks that were once simple. Palliative care helps address these difficulties, but many people are unaware of all it encompasses. Richmond University Medical Center provides a closer look at services offered through its palliative care program that provide the support and comfort every patient deserves.
1. Emotional and Spiritual Support
Even short-term illnesses can affect mental health. This impact increases for those with serious conditions. Patients may experience feelings of anxiety, fear, and confusion. Palliative care provides essential support during this time with access to behavioral health counseling that offers valuable coping tools to minimize stress and address depression, anger, and other common reactions to illness.
For those who take comfort spiritually, palliative care may also include faith-based support. At Richmond University Medical Center, we pair palliative care patients with clergy from diverse faiths and arrange access to religious services to address spiritual needs.
2. Care Coordination
Chronic conditions and serious diseases usually require complex care across disciplines. Medical appointments also become more frequent with the need for chemotherapy, dialysis, physical therapy, and more. Staying on top of all these providers and appointments may feel like a full-time job, especially for patients with limited energy and loved ones juggling care with work, school, and other obligations.
That is why palliative care typically includes care coordination, a service that manages all of a patient’s care along with their preferred primary care physician. When needed, it may also include at-home and in-patient facility care coordination. Overall, patients can focus on their well-being rather than scheduling appointments and keeping all their doctors on the same page.
As needs change, patients and family members do not always know where to turn for help. In many cases services are available, but identifying them is difficult and time-consuming. With social service referrals, palliative care helps connect patients with agencies and other resources in the community that provide support.
This can be especially important as needs evolve and the preferred approach to care shifts. Whether you are seeking help in coping with more aggressive treatments or making the transition to end-of-life care, palliative care makes it easier to take advantage of all available resources.
4. Pain Management Care
The conditions that require palliative care often include pain among their symptoms. This discomfort may sometimes be increased by treatment, fatigue, and other complicating factors. Accordingly, palliative care strives to reduce pain and make patients as comfortable as possible as they manage their health.
Pain management takes many forms, and options are available for those who wish to avoid medications. Your care team will work with you to determine the best solutions and help you choose the right pain relief for your unique needs.
5. End-of-Life Planning
You may associate hospice care with terminal illnesses and end-of-life care, but palliative care plays an important role here as well. There are many decisions to be made during this difficult time, and patients must receive nonjudgmental, respectful support that puts their wishes first.
As such, palliative care can include help with advanced care directives and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders that dictate if and how life-saving care may be delivered and how care should be handled when a patient can no longer communicate their preferences. Support for funeral planning can also be part of palliative care to reduce stress on loved ones and the patient alike.
Learn More about Palliative Care Services
Residents of Staten Island, New York can receive compassionate, dedicated palliative care services from the team at Richmond University Medical Center. Comprising physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual leaders, and more, our team will do everything possible to help you cope with your illness and its effects. For more information about palliative care, contact us today by calling 718-818-4104.