How We Can Help
Symptom Management & Increased Patient Comfort Treatment Information
Palliative care is different from medical care intended to cure disease. Hospice focuses on symptoms, not on combating underlying illness. Treatments and services we offer include:
- Pain relief. Terminal illnesses such as cancer may cause pain that may become severe. Our palliative care experts respond with appropriate pain medicines in doses that are sometimes outside the normal range. We use a wide variety of medications, including familiar pain relievers (such as aspirin or acetaminophen), steroids to reduce pain caused by inflammation and opioid pain medicines (such as oxycodone and morphine). We monitor patients to ensure their pain responds adequately and side effects are kept to a minimum.
- Relief of other symptoms. Physical discomforts, such as nausea, difficulty breathing and constipation, reduce your loved one’s quality of life. These may result from the process of life-limiting illness or from inactivity and side effects of pain medicines. We administer medicines as needed to relieve these symptoms. This treatment makes your loved one more comfortable and able to enjoy time with you and your family. Hospice patients may have some depression as well. We may prescribe antidepressants to help your loved one overcome this barrier to sharing time together.
- Medical care for acute conditions. Patients with life-limiting illnesses may sometimes develop an acute condition such as stroke or heart attack. We treat these illnesses so they do not interfere with the primary end-of-life process. If your loved one has a do-not-resuscitate order (an order not to use extraordinary means to prolong life), we will discuss options with you to decide the best course of action.
- Assistance with daily living. The process of a life-limiting illness may involve challenges with ordinary activities such as bathing and shaving. The extent of these responsibilities may interfere with your ability to enjoy time with your loved one. IU Health hospice aides can assist with some of these personal care tasks, reducing stress and helping patients and families share time together.
- Emotional support. The end of life process often causes difficult emotional responses. Patients may have unresolved feelings about their lives or relationships or difficulty coming to terms with approaching death. IU Health Hospice social workers provide comfort and emotional support to help your loved one overcome these problems.
- Spiritual support. As the end of life nears, some people experience fear or spiritual uncertainty. Our chaplains help with these feelings by offering spiritual comfort and guidance. We also perform devotions and rituals, such as Catholic sacraments or readings from sacred books, to support your loved one. IU Health chaplains offer these and other spiritual services to help patients face challenging questions that arise as life is ending.
Symptom Management & Increased Patient Comfort Locations & Physicians
For more information, please contact us at 866.272.5083.
Symptom Management & Increased Patient Comfort Support Services
Learning more about hospice care and end-of-life concerns may help you make decisions and work more effectively with hospice staff. Visit the websites below to better understand hospice services.
A Sampling of Symptom Management & Increased Patient Comfort Support Services
The National Institutes of Health provides a brief overview of hospice care and extensive links to additional resources.
National Cancer Institute
This website answers frequently asked questions about hospice care as it applies to cancer patients and links to other end-of-life resources and services.
Hospice Foundation of America
This website includes detailed information and many resources for hospice caregivers and patients.
This website features education and resources to support caregivers of patients in hospice care.
Indiana Association for Home and Hospice Care
To find hospice resources and education specific to Indiana, visit this website.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society shares hospice education specific to patients with cancer.
American Heart Association
Explore the American Heart Association website for information on hospice care for patients with heart-related conditions as well as general education on heart problems.
Little Red Door Cancer Agency
If your loved one has cancer, the Little Red Door Cancer Agency offers extra support that can improve their quality of life in small but important ways.