Improving the lives of patients and families facing serious illnesses

What is palliative care?
If you are dealing with a serious illness, special care is available to help you make decisions, become more comfortable and reduce stress. Palliative Care establishes goals of care, clarifies advance directives, promotes symptom management and provides continuity as you move between different health-care services. It addresses the emotional, spiritual and social concerns associated with life-limiting illness.

Palliative Care improves quality of life for patients and their families, and complements attending physicians’ care as a consultative service.

Who is on the Great River Palliative Care team?
The Palliative Care team comprises physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other professionals.

What can I expect from the Palliative Care team?
Your team:

  • Coordinates care to improve communication among patients, families and health-care providers
  • Manages pain and other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, fatigue, constipation, nausea and sleep problems
  • Offers counseling and education about your condition and choices for medical care
  • Provides guidance and support with decision making including treatment options, advance care planning and caregiving needs 

How do patients receive services?
Physicians may refer patients who are in the hospital to the Palliative Care team for a consultation. Your physician remains the leader of patient care. The team works closely with your physician and other healthcare providers to meet treatment goals. With the patient and family, the Palliative Care team reevaluates goals of care every time a patient is readmitted to the hospital.

What patients are appropriate for Palliative Care services?
Patients who:

  • Need help understanding treatment options and making difficult choices
  • Have unacceptable levels of pain or other symptoms associated with cancer, advanced heart, liver, lung, or kidney disease, diabetes, dementia and other diagnoses
  • Frequently visit a physician clinic, emergency department or hospital for the same diagnosis
  • Have prolonged hospital stays without showing improvement

Palliative Care is not hospice care
Palliative Care is appropriate for patients in any stage of a serious illness. Palliative Care can be combined with curative treatments and therapies. Hospice care is for the final months of life.

For more information, please call Great River Palliative Care at 319-768-3375.