What is Palliative Care?
We can’t change the diagnosis but we can make living with it a little easier. Just coping with a progressive, serious illness can be overwhelming. There are medical options to consider.
The Center for Advancement of Palliative Care (CAPC) defines Palliative Care as:
“Specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness – whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment.”
Palliative care has features that are like, as well as those that are unlike hospice. Like hospice it is provided by a team of health professionals focused on relieving symptoms and stress. Unlike hospice, palliative care is provided alongside conventional or curative medical care. One does not need to forgo active treatment of a medical condition in order to receive palliative care. For this reason, Medicare and most insurance companies do not cover the cost of providing palliative care to patients in the home setting. However, there are exceptions. Care Oregon, Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Health Net and Tuality Health Alliance all contract with Care Partners to provide home based palliative care services. If you are a member of one of these health plans and have a serious illness you may be eligible to receive home based palliative care services provided by Care Partners.
Palliative care is operated as a separate program from Hospice. It is offered to individuals who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, but may still be seeking curative treatment. With palliative care patients may continue to receive all of the health care services they are accustomed to from their insurance coverage.
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For more information or to speak with a care specialist, call us at (888) 968-9565.
In the comfort of your own home, no matter where that may be, palliative care provides a network of clinical professionals for those not medically, physically or psychologically ready for Hospice. A team coordinator will meet with the client and family to identify and engage avenues of support. Connections are then made with resources at Care Partners or in the wider community.
Palliative care services include:
- Comprehensive and ongoing assessments of the patient’s condition, goals, wishes and needs
- Patient and family support and education
- Coordination of care among the patient’s existing care team (e.g. primary care and specialists)
- Assistance with advance directives and health care decision making
- Counseling services related to grief and loss, spiritual and dietary needs
- Home visits by palliative care nurses, social workers and aides
- A plan of care is developed with the patient and family to assure care is aligned with individual priorities
Eligibility for Palliative Care
To be eligible a client must be a member of a health plan that offers home based palliative care and have a serious illness. Patients must reside in their home, adult foster home or facility (independent living, assisted living, memory or skilled nursing) in the Portland, Oregon metro area including Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia or parts of Yamhill county.