Palliative Care

   One of the most important things to know in planning a person’s care is what the goals are. For most of our lives this is a relatively easy question.Our goals are to prevent disease and cure it when it occurs.These goals, in turn, provide the basis for modern medical care, with its frequently lifesaving technology.

  

As people become older, their medical goals are determined by a number of  factors. Two of the most important of these are:

1)       their own values (what is important to them) and

2)       their medical condition. 

  

Here at the nursing home, many of our patients are still in a situation in which they have medical conditions to control (like high blood pressure and diabetes) and if possible cure (like early forms of cancer).  However, many of them have conditions that are severe or advanced (like Alzheimer’s Disease, some heart diseases and advanced cancer) in which cure can no longer be a realistic goal.  What can be a goal is the control of symptoms such as pain and emotional distress and the prevention of suffering in whatever form it may  occur.

  

It is to this end that Isabella Geriatric Center offers its palliative care program, which stresses providing comfort rather than curing disease.  The needs and concerns of the resident and family always remain uppermost in this model of care.

  

Key Points

 

    Modern medicine can prevent and cure many, but not all, diseases.

  

      Most nursing home residents have chronic conditions with symptoms that need to be treated.

  

          Some nursing home residents have severe, life-threatening illnesses for which comfort should be the primary goal of care.

  

      Palliative care stresses comfort rather than cure.

  

      Palliative care stresses symptom relief at all times.

  

      Palliative care does not mean “giving up”.

  

Palliative Care Stresses      

  

Palliation (alleviation, relief) of symptoms has an appropriate place in the care of nearly all our residents, no matter what their condition may be.   It is for those most seriously ill patients that we anticipate palliative care  forming a major part of the plan of  therapy.

  

Palliative care does not mean less care or “giving up”.It nearly always means more  aggressive treatment of symptoms and a heightened level of attention to the hour-to-hour needs of the resident.  We have already seen several residents whose condition actually improved when they were placed on this program due to this enhanced level of attention and treatment.  And palliative care does not preclude hospitalization and aggressive treatment of serious  complications when appropriate.

  

The care team has determined that you or your loved one may be a candidate for this model of treatment.They look forward to discussing this opportunity with you.