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Palliative Care

Facing a serious illness or disability can be a trying and difficult experience for patients.  At the same time, dealing with chronic illness and its associated symptoms can be emotionally, physically and spiritually disruptive to the family.  The Centura Health palliative care team, comprised of professionals trained to manage such issues, is dedicated to relieving symptoms and maintaining the best quality of life for patients and their families who, together, are fighting the disease.

The Palliative Care team at St. Mary-Corwin is composed of physicians, a Registered Nurse, a social worker, a counselor and a spiritual care provider. Our Medical Director and Nurse Specialist are certified in Hospice and Palliative care. Physicians, nurses, patients and families may make requests for evaluation and management.

Palliative Care & Hospice

You may be asking what the difference is between palliative care and hospice. Palliative care is available to patients at any stage of their illness, offering them a chance to aggressively treat the symptoms of their disease while continuing treatment. Palliative care is symptom management and support for patients and families as they face a serious or life threatening illness. Effective palliative care increases the likelihood that patients will cope adequately with the rigors of therapy and maintain a satisfying level of physical and psychosocial functioning. 

Hospice care primarily takes place when the decision has been made to focus on comfort and quality of life and no longer pursue life-prolonging or curative treatment. When treatment is no longer affective, hospice helps with symptom management and familiy support.  St. Mary-Corwin works with community hospices to help provide in the continuum of care.  We partner with Sangre de Cristo Hospice and Palliative Care for in-home care and short-term care in the inpatient unit.  We also partner with Frontier Hospice, Frontier and Sol Amor for care in-home and in nursing home care.

When is a Palliative Care team consult appropriate?

Ask for a team consult when the patient and family are trying to manage:

  • Repeated admissions for an advanced illness
  • Symptoms that are interfering with quality of life
  • Lack of response to curative therapies and changing goals of care
  • Conflict regarding illness management or treatment course

Palliative care may be appropriate for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or emphysema, severe diabetes, kidney failure, patients with cancer who are undergoing treatment, or patients with severe joint or back pain.

For more information, call the palliative care nurse practitioner at 719-557-5215.

End of Life Care

End of life care is provided for those who may not be able to leave the hospital. We strive to keep you as comfortable as possible by managing your symptoms. We support your family through this time with emotional and spiritual counseling. If there are questions regarding treatment decisions, we try to educate you and your family about the choices.

Support Services

The following are support services offered with palliative care at St. Mary-Corwin:

  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Assistance with choosing and arranging post-hospital care
  • Assistance with treatment choices and decisions
  • Education for patients and families
  • Help with communications between patients, families and health care providers
  • Grief support and referral

For more information, visit www.getpalliativecare.org.

Advanced Directives

Advanced Directives are healthcare decisions you can choose before you become ill or go to a hospital, as well as after you become ill. They help your physician and health care team know what you would like for your care.  Pastoral care staff or the patient representative can assist you with advanced directives.

Role of the Primary Physician

Your primary physician still directs your care. The palliative care team works with the current team of health care providers to meet your overall needs, as well as the needs of your family.

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