Improving quality of life when you are seriously ill
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is for people with a serious illness, and for their families. Its focus is on reducing the symptoms, pain, stress, and side effects related to the illness, so patients can live more comfortably. Palliative care does not replace primary treatment; it works together with the treatment, providing an extra layer of support for meeting physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs. At Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, the Palliative Medicine Service’s goals are to:
- Improve quality of life
- Treat the whole person
- Support the family
Palliative care is not hospice care, though the two are often confused. Hospice focuses on a person’s final months of life. Palliative care is for those who are seriously or chronically ill and is available at any time during that illness. People can receive palliative care at the same time they receive treatment meant to cure an illness.
The Palliative Medicine Service is an interdisciplinary team including a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, social worker, pharmacists, and chaplains.
They work closely with each patient’s primary doctor to take care of current needs and to anticipate future needs. The team’s priority is to respect each patient’s wishes and interests, and to make sure the patient and family have the information they need to make informed decisions.
The palliative care team also works closely with patients’ families, who are an important part of the care team. By supporting them, the team
supports the patient.
Research shows that palliative care can improve:
- Pain and other symptoms, including nausea or shortness of breath
- Communication among doctors and family members
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Understanding of a patient’s wishes for care
The Palliative Medicine Service’s mission is to provide an extra layer of support during hospitalization to patients, family, and staff. The Palliative Medicine Service strives to improve patients’ quality of life by reducing the stresses caused by illness, as well as helping to control pain and physical symptoms and emotional and spiritual challenges facing people with chronic or lifelong disease.
Messages from our patients’ families
Thank you for taking such wonderful care of my mom, both physically and emotionally.
Thank you for helping get my dad home.
We greatly appreciate the professionalism and compassion that you and your colleagues offered our family throughout my grandmother’s stay.
I was so relaxed knowing you would do all you could to give my friend the most realistic view of her options.
The support to me cannot be expressed in words.
Thank you for all your support, guidance, and communication during the most difficult time in our lives.
You checked in with our family, gave us support, and offered care in any way possible.
My family was happy to have such caring team taking care of our father.