Palliative Care

CHRISTUS Health shows compassion to those facing a terminal or serious illness. Our team will provide physical, emotional, social, psychological, and spiritual support for patients and their families.

Our team is available to listen, comfort, and help individuals and their families cope with emotional challenges. Our professionals will work with you to provide holistic support that addresses all aspects of a person’s health.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a form of health care designed to provide comfort and support for people with serious illnesses.

Unlike hospice care, palliative care seeks to reduce the symptoms and stress of serious illnesses or injuries. It also provides emotional and spiritual support for both patients and family members.

Hospice care is typically provided when the patient is in the last six months of their life, while palliative care can be provided at any stage of a serious illness or condition. Palliative care service has been found to improve patients and their family's quality of life.

It is provided to people of all ages and can be given at any stage of an illness. Palliative care offers the following:

Pain Management

Palliative care teams are experts in finding ways to reduce and manage pain through the use of the following:

  • Medications
  • Therapies
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Message Therapy
  • Music Therapy

The palliative care team will work with the patient and their family to create an individualized treatment. This includes treating their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Symptom Control

Palliative care offers symptom control to improve the quality of life for people with serious illnesses. Palliative care teams work together to identify, assess and manage physical symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Psychological Support

Palliative care teams can provide emotional and spiritual support to help patients cope with the psychological effects of a terminal illness. This may include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group Therapy
  • Family meetings
  • Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Support

Palliative care specialists understand that emotional and spiritual well-being is important in restoring health.

Palliative care providers work to identify a patient’s individual values, beliefs, faith traditions, and goals. They can offer spiritual support and comfort to patients. They do this by helping them cope with their diagnosis and the emotions that come along with it.

Palliative care teams are doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains who understand the importance of addressing a patient’s spiritual needs. Chaplains provide confidential, non-judgmental support and compassionate listening for those in need.

Nutrition Support

Nutritional counseling or suggested changes to the patient’s diet to help maintain adequate nutrition and prevent malnutrition.

They may also recommend supplements if needed. They may also refer the patient to a dietitian for further guidance.

They work with other healthcare professionals to ensure the patient’s nutritional needs are met. They can aid with tube feeding or other methods of nutrition if needed.

Providers can also work with patients and their families to create a meal plan.

Hydration Needs

They provide support to ensure adequate and appropriate hydration is being taken in by the patient. They offer tips on how to stay hydrated and ensure access to fluids like water or ice chips.

Supplemental drinks or intravenous fluids may be provided in cases where the patient cannot take enough fluids orally.

Hydration is one of the most common symptoms managed by palliative care providers. Providers also help to make sure that the patient is getting enough fluids throughout the day.

What Sickness is Palliative Care For?

Palliative care is for anyone living with a serious or life-limiting illness, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Failure
  • Lung Disease
  • Dementia
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • COVID-19
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke

Where Is Palliative Care Provided?

Palliative care can be provided at the following locations:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Outpatient palliative care clinics
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Hospices

What Are The Benefits of Palliative Care?

A palliative care program is focused on helping individuals and families cope better with their illness by providing several benefits.

Longer Life Expectancy: People who receive palliative care may live longer than those who do not. This may be due to symptom management and helping people overcome and cope with their illnesses.

Less Anxiety and Depression: Psychological relief is one of the benefits. Emotional support can lead to less anxiety and depression in those receiving care.

Pain Relief: Providing pain management treatment can also help reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.