Palliative Care means treating the symptoms of a disease rather than trying to find a cure. Most often this means treating pain and irritable symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, difficulty sleeping and many others. Patients typically have a life expectancy of less than one year, however, palliative care under Hospice services is for those with 6 months or less to live.
Who Does Palliative Care Serve?
Palliative Care of Southern West Virginia serves patients with serious illness, including but not limited to cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney failure, liver failure, advanced dementia, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Multiple sclerosis.
Patients and their families who are facing difficult decisions about the goals of their medical care may benefit from a Palliative Care of Southern West Virginia consultation.
When Should Palliative Care Be Considered?
Palliative Care of Southern West Virginia should be considered when:
- There is difficulty managing symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping or side effects of treatment.
- A patient has repeat ER visits or hospital admissions.
- A patient needs help establishing goals, making health care decisions, clarifying treatment options, and/or planning for the future, including code status and advanced directives.
Who Provides Palliative Care?
Palliative Care of Southern West Virginia consultations are provided by advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners) and physicians. Our team of Palliative Care providers work with attending physicians, nurses, chaplains, pharmacists, registered dietitians, therapists and other staff to address goals of care, make recommendations for care and provide symptom management. The patient's primary health care provider continues to manage the patient's plan of care.
Who Pays for Palliative Care?
Most private insurance plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, cover all or part of the Palliative Care consultation. If you have questions regarding your insurance coverage for Palliative Care, please ask to speak to the Social Worker.
Where is Palliative Care Available?
Palliative Care of Southern West Virginia consultations are available in homes, assisted living facilities, nursing facilities, retirement communities or other medical facilities.
How Do Patients Get Referred for Palliative Care?
You can speak with your physician about ordering a Palliative Care consultation for you or your loved one. If the physicians feels you may benefit from a Palliative Care consultation, he or she will request one on your behalf. Once the primary health care provider writes an order for the Palliative Care consult, one of our Palliative Care of Southern West Virginia staff will meet with the patient and family to review the patient's medical history and discuss the benefit of adding Palliative Care of Southern West Virginia as a support option.