What is Palliative Care?

kim_emerson_5109_500x500Kim Emerson has been a Social Worker at Upland Hills Health since 1993 and is the director of patient and family services. She also coordinates the Honoring Choices Wisconsin program and Advance Directive planning for patients and community members through Upland Hills Health, and most recently completed a certificate in End of Life-Palliative Care Counseling.

Home care or home health is a service that has been around for several years. Many of us have heard about or had personal experience with Hospice care. However, palliative care is a new word to most of us. So what is palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv)?

Palliative care is meant to improve the quality of life for individuals living with a serious or chronic illness. A few examples of a serious or chronic illness include:

  • cancer,
  • congestive heart failure (CHF),
  • dementia,
  • lupus,
  • Parkinson’s, or
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The palliative care team works alongside the patient’s doctor to develop a treatment plan focusing on symptom (nausea, pain, shortness of breath) and stress (depression, anxiety) management. By managing symptoms, the individual can begin to participate in usual activities of daily living.

One difference between Hospice care and palliative care is that a patient can continue with curative treatment while receiving palliative care. Palliative care can be provided to individuals living at home, at a nursing care facility or assisted living facility. The palliative care team is there for you the patient, as well as your family.

A great resource to learn more about palliative care is getpalliativecare.org. There you can get more details about palliative care, such as:

  • is palliative care right for me,
  • what can I expect from palliative care and the care team,
  • insurance coverage,
  • how to talk to your doctor,
  • frequently asked questions, and
  • resources, like videos, podcast, webinars.

On the website, be sure to go to the What Is It and click on Disease Types to learn the benefits of palliative care for a specific disease(s).

You can call Kim, Patient and Family Services, at 930-8000 extension 3350 if you’d like to talk more palliative care or hospice care.

Kim Emerson, CSW, MS
Patient and Family Services Director
Advance Care Planning Facilitator
End of Life-Palliative Care Counseling Certificate