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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Organizational Case for Palliative Care

We still have work to do in the community in terms of understanding the role of palliative care. Unfortunately, for patients and families, physicians may not be a good enough educational resource regarding palliative care. Indeed, physicians may equate palliative care as hospice care and may counsel patients against a palliative care program enrollment by stating, "oh, you're not ready for that." Palliative care is supportive care in those with chronic medical illnesses who are experiencing declining functionality, declining quality of life and are having difficulty controlling symptoms. Palliative care focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a chronic illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. It is CONCURRENT with ongoing standard medical care. That is, you still see your doctors, still have necessary medications, care, surgeries, etc. Ask yourself, what are the reasons for your doctors visits and hospital admissions? Was your disease cured or improved? Or, were your symptoms better controlled then you were discharged home? If you've noticed that what we (doctors) are helping you with is symptom management but the underlying disease driving those symptoms cannot be bettered or cured, then palliative care may be appropriate. For the most part, we can manage symptoms and improve quality of life in your own home.
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD Leaders at Baylor Scott & White Health have developed a program to lower costs, improve quality, and reduce readmissions.

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