When you or a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness that impacts quality of life, palliative care at home can help. Our patients receive relief from symptoms, as well as from side effects and stress resulting from a serious illness, in the comfort of home. Our primary goal is to improve quality of life for our patients and their families. With symptoms well-managed, you can feel better and do the things that are most important to you.
The Amedisys palliative care program brings relief from the pain, symptoms and stress of a chronic illness. Contact an Amedisys care center near you for a palliative care assessment.
What Does Palliative Care Involve?
Living with a serious or life-threatening illness can feel like a blur of hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Palliative care at home reduces this strain by bringing many treatments to you.
Our palliative care specialists come to your home – wherever you call home – to help manage symptoms, provide education, coordinate transitions of care in collaboration with your primary care provider, and establish your individualized goals of care. We’ll help you get the right care at the right time based on your treatment goals.
Anyone with a serious illness may receive palliative care services. To get started, you’ll need a referral and order from your doctor. Care begins with an assessment, so we can understand your needs and create a plan tailored to you. Palliative services are often covered by Medicare and other insurance plans.
There are various types of palliative care. Depending on your needs, you may receive:
- Help establishing personalized goals of care
- A holistic approach to care that addresses the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of each patient and family
- Coordination of care with your primary care or consulting physicians based on your goals of treatment
- Coordination of transitions of care between different care settings
- Medications for pain relief and management of other symptoms
- Self-care tools for coping with stress and anxiety
- Education about disease processes and treatment options
- Help for loved ones troubleshooting caregiving demands and pressures
- Social support to help you organize family meetings, discuss goals and find helpful resources in your community
Palliative treatment is available wherever you call home, whether that’s a private residence, hospital, nursing home or other facility.
When a patient is facing a serious disease, their needs often range from medical to social, spiritual and emotional. That’s why we take a holistic approach that addresses these areas. You’ll work with a multidisciplinary palliative care team that may include a medical director and nurse practitioners, with social work support.
Is Palliative Treatment Right for You?
You can receive palliative treatment any time during a serious illness, from diagnosis on. You can continue with treatments, including those intended to cure your illness, and see your regular doctor while receiving palliative care.
Palliative care at home can help people with any serious illness, including:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory illness
- Kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- End-stage organ failure (frequently of the heart, kidneys or liver)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease
When is the right time for palliative care? You may want to consider palliative treatment if you:
- Have been newly diagnosed with a chronic or serious illness or there has been a change in your clinical course
- Need help understanding your condition or are struggling to accept your diagnosis
- Want to continue treatments to cure your illness while maintaining your quality of life
- Have frequent hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room
- Need help managing pain and symptoms
- Struggle to visit your doctor or miss important appointments
- Need help understanding your treatment options and/or doing advance care planning
- Are nearing the end of life but either aren’t eligible for hospice or aren’t interested in that type of care
Many patients and families feel overwhelmed when considering their care options. We can help you decide if palliative treatment is the right choice for you or your loved one. Contact an Amedisys care center near you. Our team will confer with your physician for an order and set up an initial palliative care consult.
Goals of Palliative Care
What is the goal of palliative care? The goal of palliative care is to provide patient-centered, family-focused care to improve patients’ quality of life. For many patients, this means alleviating pain and other symptoms that often come with serious illnesses. It can also include meeting your emotional, social and spiritual needs and helping you and your caregiver navigate treatment options. We help patients feel as safe and comfortable as possible, so they can focus on making the most of their daily life.
Symptoms that often improve with palliative care include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Anxiety, depression or sadness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Breathing difficulties
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
The goals of palliative care are similar to hospice, but the two types of care differ in important ways. Learn more about the difference between palliative care and hospice.
The Benefits of Palliative Care
Our palliative care program helps both patients and their families. Loved ones learn about the patient’s disease process and treatment options. This can make difficult decisions a bit easier and ease the stress of caregiving.
For patients, some of the benefits of palliative care often include:
- Relief of pain and difficult symptoms
- Better quality of life
- An established plan of care based on your individualized goals of care
- Ability to focus on time with loved ones
- Fewer hospitalizations (meaning less stress, lower costs and more rest)
- More independence
- Communication and collaboration with the patient’s healthcare team
- Safe, seamless transitions between care settings
- Support for social and emotional needs
- An added layer of medical support from experienced professionals including a board-certified medical director with palliative care expertise
Patients do not have to be at the end of their life to begin receiving palliative care at home. In fact, starting care during the earlier stages of an illness can be the most beneficial. Reach out to the Amedisys palliative care facility near you. We’ll answer your questions and help you get started with a palliative care consult.