What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is a unique program provided to patients and families coping with chronic, serious, life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, advanced liver, heart, lung, kidney, vascular, rheumatologic or neurologic diseases. The program, currently available at WellSpan York Hospital, focuses on the comprehensive management of the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients and their families regardless of life expectancy or treatment options.
What Services Are Available?
While in the hospital, a physician can refer the patient to the Palliative Care Consultation Service. The consultation team will work with the patient to:
- Manage pain and other symptoms
- Discuss difficult end-of-life issues such as treatment options, advance directives and advanced care-giving needs
- Provide guidance and support with decision-making
- Counsel and educate patients and families
- Assist in improving the quality of communication between patients, families and medical staff
- Bereavement Services
How is Palliative Care Different From Hospice?
Palliative care is appropriate early in the course of a serious illness as well as in the final stages of that illness. Regardless of when the palliative care referral is made, the goal is to build a foundation of physical and emotional support for the patient and their family for the duration of the illness.
What Are the Benefits of Palliative Care?
By including palliative care as part of the treatment plan, patients and families see improved quality of life and patient comfort; improved communication between patient, family and health care providers; an increased focus on the patient and not the disease or diagnosis and improved patient and family satisfaction.
Who Provides Palliative Care?
The Palliative Care consultation team is comprised of nurses and physicians, supported by therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, social workers and chaplains. The team works closely with the various disciplines to maintain close communication and ensure agreement on goals of treatment.
In addition to our many services, we offer a wide range of literature and resources to help patients and their families during illnesses. Support literature is available on topics that include advance directives, end of life care decision making, living well with serious illness, and more.
For additional information, please contact a member of our staff at (717) 851-3467.