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The term Palliative Care is derived from the Latin root word palliare meaning to cloak. Palliative Care at Martha Jefferson is provided by an integrated team of people who draw a cloak of support and comfort around the patient and his/her family. Palliative Care aims to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients with advanced illness and their families. It is provided by an interdisciplinary team and offered in conjunction with all other appropriate forms of medical treatment, especially to support vigorous pain and symptom management.
Martha Jefferson has had such a team since early 2006. The current team includes an Advanced Practice Nurse, a Nurse Practitioner, and a Chaplain. Working with our physicians, they provide support to inpatients and their families.
Palliative care is not the same as hospice care, which is offered near the end of a person's life. Instead its focus is improving quality of life for people receiving treatment intended to cure them or for people with chronic illnesses. It is offered at the same time as all other sorts of other medical treatment; people do not have to stop aggressive treatment or be near the end of life to benefit from palliative care.. Hospice care is provided near the end of life, when people are thought to have 6 months more or less to live. Palliative care can help then, also, but really focuses on care for people with chronic or progressive illness, people who are not terminally ill.
Palliative care is care for the whole person, designed to relieve suffering of all kinds: physical, spiritual, and emotional. Palliative care helps the families of patients, too. Its goal is to improve quality of life for people with chronic or advanced illness and their families. It’s a team approach, including a specially trained nurse, a nurse practitioner, a chaplain, and other hospital staff,
If someone is coping with a serious or progressive illness, Martha Jefferson’s Palliative Care Team can provide an extra layer of support for that person and their family. Working with physicians, the team offers:
Delivered alongside curative therapies and in partnership with a patient's primary physician, palliative care contributes many things to improve quality of life. Team members provide expert assessment and management of all sorts of distressing symptoms. They help patients and families think about goals of care and decisions they may face in the future.
They offer practical support for patients and their family caregivers in coping with illness.
They help coordinate care in and out of the hospital to address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those facing a life-changing illness.