What is palliative care?
Supportive and Palliative care is specialized medical care for patients with illnesses that prevent them from doing the things they enjoy. We focus on helping patients with symptoms such as pain, nausea and breathing problems and strive to improve their quality of living. We serve patients with lifestyle-limiting illnesses, including cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, diabetes and neuromuscular disease. Our palliative care team consists of specially trained physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains who work directly with our patients' physicians to provide an extra level of support and comprehensive, compassionate care. This provides our patients with familiar faces they can depend on throughout the treatment process.
Palliative care is NOT hospice, and you do not have to be in the hospital to receive palliative care.
We offer outpatient care at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center can help you manage your disease so you can avoid unnecessary hospital treatments and expenses.
Benefits of palliative care
Treating the pain and symptoms
We can help relieve symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
A person may have several doctors and other health professionals in many specialties overseeing care. With palliative care, you will have one team coordinating your care. We'll work with all those involved in your care - your primary doctor, specialists or hospice program - to provide the best care for you. There will be a familiar face with you and your family throughout your illness.
Helping navigate the medical system
The health care system can be difficult to understand - and even frustrating at times. Let us help you with your concerns about appointments, insurance and more. We will guide you through the system to help relieve the stress of you and your family.
Listening to you
You know how you are feeling and what you would like to accomplish. We will listen to you and help you recognize what your goals are and meet them.
Avoiding unnecessary treatments or hospitalizations
You may make frequent emergency room visits or be hospitalized over and over for the same illness. We can help you manage your disease to avoid unnecessary treatments or hospitalization as much as possible.If you are unable to travel to a clinic, we can come to you - at home, in a nursing facility or a hospital.
Knowing what to expect
Learning about your illness and knowing what to expect in the future can help you be less afraid. We will be with you every step of the way and let you know what your options are.
Making necessary plans
We can assist you and your family with advanced care planning. Planning may include a legal surrogate assignment, living will or do-not-resuscitate order.
Fulfilling your wishes
We consider many aspects of your life - symptoms, medications, diagnosis, family and home situation, faith, personal values, goals and wishes - to help you fulfill your hopes. If, for example, you would like to take a trip to visit loved ones or visit a place you have always wanted to see, we can help you determine the best time and way to do so.
Being there for you
Patients and families often say that our team helps them "find their way" or "feel safe" during a stressful and emotional time. The peace of mind patients and families receive through the Missouri Palliative Care Program is just as important as the medical treatments.