Palliative medicine

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What is palliative medicine?
What is palliative medicine?
Who can receive palliative medicine?
How do I know if palliative medicine is right for me?
What does palliative medicine do?
What can I expect from palliative medicine?
Will my insurance cover palliative medicine?
Do I have to give up my own doctor?
Can I have curative treatment together with palliative medicine?
Who else, besides the patient, can benefit?
Where do I get palliative medicine?
Who provides palliative medicine?
Can I get palliative medicine if I am at home?
What is the difference between hospice and palliative medicine?
How do I get palliative medicine?
Meet our providers

What is palliative medicine?

Symptom management, emotional/spiritual support and assistance with healthcare decision making. 

Who can receive palliative medicine?

Any patient with serious illness whose quality of life could be improved.

Patients who have a serious illness, such as:

  • Advanced cardiac disease (heart failure, severe coronary artery disease)
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cancer
  • Advanced dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological disorders

Patients with serious illness who have:

  • Problems completing activities of daily living
  • Two or more hospital readmissions for chronic illness within 3 months
  • Difficulty managing physical or emotional symptoms
  • Uncertainty with code status (what to do in a life-threatening event) or goals of care

How do I know if palliative medicine is right for me?

Palliative medicine may be right for you if you are facing pain, emotional distress and other symptoms due to a serious illness. Serious illnesses include, but are not limited to: cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Palliative medicine is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness and can be provided along with your current treatment. 

What does palliative medicine do?

Pain and symptom control

Your palliative medicine team will specifically address sources of pain and discomfort. These may include problems with breathing, fatigue, depression, insomnia (trouble sleeping), anxiety or nausea.


Communication and coordination

Palliative medicine puts great importance on communication between you, your family and your doctors to ensure that your need and wishes are fully met. They can help with setting goals for your care, decision making and coordinating your care.


Emotional support

Palliative medicine focuses on the entire person, not just the illness. The team provides care for you to address social, psychological, emotional or spiritual needs that you may have


Family/caregiver support

The palliative medicine team provides support to help ease the burden of caregivers as well. 

 

What can I expect from palliative medicine?

The palliative medicine providers discuss the plan of care with you to make sure your needs and wishes are being met and that treatments are in line with your goals.

You can expect:

  • Relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping
  • Help to carry on with your daily life
  • Improved ability to go through medical treatments
  • Better understanding of your condition and your choices for medical care In short, you can expect the best possible quality of life 

 

 

Will my insurance cover palliative medicine?

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover all or part of palliative medicine treatment. 

 

Do I have to give up my own doctor?

The palliative medicine team provides an extra layer of support and works with your primary doctor. Your primary doctor will continue to direct your care and play an active role in your treatment. 
 

Can I have curative treatment together with palliative medicine?

Absolutely. Your treatment choices are up to you. You can get palliative medicine at the same time as other curative treatment. 


Who else, besides the patient, can benefit?

Everyone involved! Patients, as well as family caregivers, are the special focus of palliative medicine. Your doctors and nurses benefit, too, because they know they are meeting your needs by providing care and treatment that improves your quality of life.


Where do I get palliative medicine?

Palliative medicine is available in many places. These include hospitals, outpatient clinics, and long-term care facilities. 


Who provides palliative medicine?

Usually a team of specialists, including palliative care doctors, nurses and social workers, provide this type of care. Massage therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists and others might also be part of the team.


Can I get palliative medicine if I am at home?

After discharge from the hospital, you, your doctor and the palliative medicine team can discuss outpatient palliative medicine. You can be followed by outpatient palliative medicine even if you have not been in the hospital. Check with your doctor. 


What is the difference between hospice and palliative medicine?

Palliative medicine is for anyone with a serious chronic illness. You can have it at any age and any stage of an illness, and you can have it along with curative treatment. It is not dependent on prognosis. Hospice is an important benefit that provides care for terminally ill patients who have limited life expectancy. People who receive hospice are also no longer receiving curative treatment for their underlying disease. 


How do I get palliative medicine?

Start by talking with your doctor or nurse 


Palliative medicine Providers

1 provider

Mount Nittany Medical Center
Park Avenue
Accepting New Patients
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