Palliative care, sometimes referred to as “comfort care,” is specialized medical care and support for patients living with a serious or life-limiting illness. Our focus is to relieve pain, symptoms and stress at any time during a serious illness and to support patients and families as they work through difficult medical decisions. This care includes:
- Assisting patients and families with identifying and creating goals of care that honors each patient’s and family’s goals and wishes.
- Management of challenging symptoms associated with a serious illness through collaboration with their primary care providers and other specialists. Our practitioners can prescribe for cancer-related pain and may make recommendations for pain management related to other serious illnesses.*
- A specialized support team to help patients and families cope with the challenges associated with living with serious illness. This support includes education, counseling, helping identify goals and facilitating connections with community resources.
- Help with navigation of the health care system, including transitions between homes and hospitals and other facilities. Our team works hard to coordinate the efforts of all providers involved to ensure a patient’s personal plan of care is followed.
- Services are provided by an expert team of board-certified physicians, specialized advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), licensed social workers and non-denominational spiritual care coordinators.
*Our Palliative Care Team does not manage medications for chronic pain patients.
Who Benefits from Palliative Care?
Palliative care is most beneficial when started early during the course of a serious illness. It’s never too soon to discuss palliative care. Those who may benefit include:
- A patient living at home or in a nursing home or assisted living facility who has a serious illness or health problem affecting quality of life, including declining ability to complete daily living activities and/or difficulty managing symptoms.
- Any patient or family member who has questions about treatment options or needs additional support.
- Patients undergoing complex treatments or deciding whether to stop treatment for any serious illness such as cancer, stroke, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease and/or dementia.
- Patients in need of help understanding treatment options in order to make informed decisions and decide on goals-of-care.
How to Receive Palliative Care Services
A patient, family member or a patient’s physician can request a palliative care consultation at any time. Palliative care services can be provided in patients’ homes for those deemed to be home-bound or living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Patients can also be seen at the Empath Health Palliative Care Clinic inside of the Diagnostic Clinic in Largo.
For more information about Palliative Care Services call Empath Health at (727) 523-2460.
- Treat pain and symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, depression and anxiety
- Help maintain the most comfortable, independent and active lifestyle as possible
- Partner with community physicians to provide an extra layer of support for patients, residents and loved ones