★ Palliative care is not the same as hospice. It is care aimed at relieving symptoms of surgery & chemo and can be used from the very beginning of a cancer diagnosis. Palliative care can also be supportive for the caregiver, as a team is provided to address many aspects of the experience. Check with your insurance provider first to see if they cover the cost of a palliative care team.
What Is Palliative Care?
“Palliative Care (pronounced PAL-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses 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 appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness. Unlike hospice care, palliative care can be provided together with curative treatment. It is especially appropriate for patients suffering from conditions like… cancer.
Palliative care focuses on managing symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and depression. It also helps you gain the strength to carry on with daily life. It improves your ability to tolerate medical treatments. And it helps you have more control over your care by improving communication so that you can better understand your choices for treatment.
Palliative care is typically provided by a team including a physician, nurse, and other specialists who work with you, your family, and your other healthcare providers to provide an extra layer of support… Defining features of a palliative care program, however, include:
The affirmation of life and regard for dying as a normal process
The intent to neither hasten nor postpone death
Care throughout the continuum of illness in conjunction with curative therapies
Availability of interventions early in the course of illness to assist with symptom management or advance care planning
The use of an interdisciplinary team approach to address the comprehensive needs of patients and families including:
An assessment and management of patient’s pain and other distressing symptoms
Integration of the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient and family care
Offering a support system to help patients live as fully as possible
Offering a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in their bereavement.”
Life Quality Institute
61 Inverness Drive East, Suite 210, Englewood, CO 80112
“Our mission is simple … by educating healthcare professionals and the public, Life Quality Institute advances the understanding and quality of palliative care.”
Patient Perspectives: Christine’s Palliative Care Story
“In this podcast, we hear from Christine Buehlmann, a California woman whose life changed dramatically after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and began receiving chemotherapy. Christine discusses how the physical and emotional symptoms of her disease and its treatment were hindering her quality of life, until she received palliative care.”
Palliative Care Providers in Colorado
“A number of hospice organizations in Colorado offer palliative care services [at home] distinct from hospice services, not requiring a terminal diagnosis or six-month prognosis. These services vary in scope and frequency—who visits patients and how often. Some are primarily focused on helping patients and families discern goals and others primarily on symptom management. If you are interested in palliative home care, contact your local hospice agency and ask what services they provide and whether they might be covered by insurance or require payment. The following [list of] organizations may be able to assist you…”
Optio Health Services
Optio Palliative Care at Home - 501 S. Cherry St., #700, Denver, CO 80246
“We offer physical and emotional support for our patients and their families facing serious disease. We are a consultative service that works directly with the physician team to ensure coordinated care. We are able to work with skilled homecare agencies, private duty providers, primary care or specialty care to ensure each patient's goals are met.
Optio Palliative Care at Home focuses on:
Acute pain and symptom management
Emotional support for patient and family
Advanced directives and goals of care discussions
RN telephonic care management
After hours’ phone support provided by our medical staff
We serve anyone with serious or advanced disease including those with cancer…”