What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is the comprehensive care of patients with advanced and often incurable medical illnesses. Its goal is to relieve physical, emotional and spiritual suffering while preserving the psychosocial and physical functioning of the patient and his/her family to the fullest extent possible. The Montefiore Palliative Care (PCARE) service provides coordinated interdisciplinary care on both a consultative and primary care basis for patients with progressive, incurable illness. PCARE works with patients and families to relieve symptoms, enhance quality of life, provide emotional and spiritual support, and assist with advance care planning.
When is Palliative Care Needed?
When patients have been diagnosed with serious illness and:
- Pain and other symptoms interfere with the patient's quality of life
- Help is needed to clarify the goals of care for the patient
- Help is needed in end-of-life planning and decision making
- Families and caregivers need assistance with bereavement and grief
- Children in the family are affected by the patient's illness
- Emotional or spiritual distress is unrelieved
- Problems arise from advanced illness
- Disease-focused treatments are no longer helping
Palliative care can often be provided in conjunction with curative treatment. It is not necessary for the patient to be in the last days of illness for these needs to be met. The transition to palliative care is a process. As the end of life approaches, the role of palliative care increases, according to the patient's and family's approval and acceptance of the changing goals of care.
The PCARE Program Offers:
- Expert treatment of pain and other symptoms of chronic illness
- Care of patients' and families' psychosocial needs, including group and individual counseling
- Pastoral and spiritual care
- Assistance with advanced care planning, discussion of goals of care, and contingency planning
- Bereavement services
- Coordinated services across the continuum of care
- Referral to hospice
- Support for professional caregivers and staff