The expertise that Hospice of Jefferson County has developed over the years in helping patients at the end of life with control of pain and management of symptoms is also available for persons coping with long-term illnesses. Palliative care is focused on helping those with chronic illness (such as cancer, COPD of CHF) achieve greater comfort, improved functioning and a better quality of life. It is a supplement to curative treatment, not a substitute. It may be provided any time during a person's illness.
Services are delivered by an interdisciplinary team of registered and licensed practical nurses, physicians and social workers. Each person's plan of care is unique, but typically it will involve relieving symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
While the value of palliative care in achieving better outcomes for patients is becoming increasingly recognized, unfortunately it is not yet included in the Medicare benefit package. Some health insurance plans do cover palliative care, and with a number of studies showing that it actually reduces over all medical costs, it is likely to become more widely covered. In the meantime, Hospice of Jefferson County will work with each patient on an affordable payment arrangement. For those without financial means, additional help is available through the generosity of George E. Woodruff, an early supporter and board member. Mr. Woodruff established an endowment fund solely for the purpose of assisting individuals in need of palliative care.
For more information about palliative care, contact the Hospice office at 315.788.7323.