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Palliative care is a specialized form of medical care intended for people with serious illnesses to provide an extra layer of support to improve quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care often focuses on alleviating pain and symptoms associated with illnesses, such as cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, and ALS.
Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Treatments to cure the illness continue alongside palliative care. Hospice care is for those with a terminal illness who are no longer looking for curative treatments. Palliative care helps those with serious, life-threatening conditions who are also working with other medical doctors to cure the illness.
Palliative care strives to:
- Provide relief from the physical, mental, social and spiritual suffering that can accompany serious illness.
- Assist with the management of symptoms including pain, shortness of breath, nausea, constipation, depression and
- anxiety, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
- Work with patients and families to establish a patient’s goals of care, taking into consideration personal preferences and values.
- Collaborate with your healthcare providers to establish a comprehensive plan of care that addresses your present
- concerns while anticipating your future needs.
- Explain advance directives (living wills) and assist in their completion, including the Indiana POST (Physicians
- Orders for Scope of Treatment).
Palliative care is available for both patients in the hospital as well as people in the community. For patients in the hospital, your healthcare provider may initiate a referral for palliative care. Patients and families who are interested in palliative care support are encouraged to request a referral from their healthcare provider. Hospital case managers and social workers can also assist with referrals for palliative care. In the community, patients and health professionals can contact the palliative care office for outpatient consultation.
Inpatient consultation - 812.353.3717
Outpatient consultation - 812.353.3719