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Pain & Palliative Care Services

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It is care that is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness regardless of diagnosis. The overall goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

By providing a specialized team of healthcare providers including a physician, nurse practitioner, nurse, chaplain and social worker, palliative care focuses on physical, psychosocial and spiritual wellness. Working collaboratively with the patient’s other providers, palliative care provides an extra layer of support to the patient and their family. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

For more information, call 785-505-5623.

Is palliative care the same as hospice care?

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care isn't necessarily for patients who are at the end of life or in the terminal phase of their disease. Palliative care focuses more broadly on improving quality of life and providing comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic or life-threatening illness, ideally beginning at the time when one is diagnosed with serious illness. Palliative care is provided concurrently with curative, even aggressive medical care and makes the important distinction between care that adds value to a patient and care that simply sustains life. When it comes to quality of life, each patient has his or her own vision, and palliative care supports that.

Palliative care improves health care quality in three significant ways:

  • Effectively relieves physical and emotional distress
  • Strengthens person-family-physician communications and decision-making
  • Ensures well-coordinated care across health care settings

How can palliative care help you?

You may want to ask your provider for a palliative care consult if you have a chronic, incurable illness and are having any of the following thoughts:

  • I need additional help managing the symptoms of my illness.
  • I wish that I understood more about my condition.
  • My family doesn't understand my illness.
  • I want to remain as well as possible and as independent as possible.
  • I want to make decisions about my healthcare before I am too ill and unable to make my own decisions.
  • I need to talk to someone about dying but I am scared and don't know who to turn to.

The Palliative Care team at Lawrence Memorial Hospital can assist you and your family by making sure that you fully understand your illness, treatment options and prognosis. The team can help manage uncomfortable symptoms that you may experience as a result of your illness.

The Palliative Care team can assist with advance care planning, establishing goals of care, discussing options for care and planning for needs. Palliative care helps coordinate all of your care and ensure that your primary care provider understands your condition and your goals of care.

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