November marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time for family gatherings, holiday parties and making memories with loved ones.
This month is also recognized as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to recognize the healthcare professionals who take care of patients around the clock.
While it’s a common misconception that hospice and palliative care are similar, they each actually offer unique services that can help patients and their families learn to navigate each stage of a life-limiting or end-of-life diagnosis.
Patients diagnosed with a life-limiting, terminal illness are most appropriate for hospice care through Archbold’s Hospice of Southwest Georgia. While patients coping with a chronic illness, one that is not necessarily terminal, are more appropriate for Archbold’s Palliative Care Program.
The types of patients who have palliative care needs are patients who require chronic illness symptom management. This includes patients who have metastatic or recurrent cancer, advanced stages of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, End-Stage Renal Disease or Congestive Heart Failure, end-stage dementia, stroke with decreased function, neuromuscular disease and any moderate to advanced concomitant disease or other condition complicating cure.
“Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with a serious illness,” said Jessica Burns, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner at Archbold. “The care we provide is focused on providing relief from symptoms and stress of a serious illness, while also improving quality of life for the patient and their family.”
Archbold’s palliative care program is comprised of a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with the patient and their providers to provide an extra layer of support. Each patient has a unique and specialized treatment plan developed solely for them.
“Palliative care is available for patients of any age or at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided alongside curative treatment,” said Burns. “Unlike hospice care, the patient does not have to be terminal or at the end of their life to be appropriate for palliative care.”
For patients with an end-of-life diagnosis, Archbold’s Hospice of Southwest Georgia provides expert medical care, pain management and emotional support tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. They also offer a support system that helps families learn to cope with terminal illness and in many cases, the loss of a loved one.
“Our top priority at Hospice of Southwest Georgia is to provide supportive and compassionate care for patients and their families,” said Sheri Walters, administrator at Archbold’s Hospice of Southwest Georgia.
Hospice of Southwest Georgia treats patients in their homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, and soon in an inpatient setting at Archbold Memorial Hospital.
“We want our community to know that there are local services available to help them care for a loved one,” said Walters. “Archbold can provide the help families need to care for a patient with a chronic or terminal illness.”