What is Palliative Care and how does it differ from Hospice?

Palliative care is a philosophy of care that focuses on symptom management, goals of care, advanced care planning, and quality of life issues at any point in a disease process. Hospice shares a similar philosophy, but assumes that a person is no longer pursuing life prolonging treatments and is in their last 6 months or so of life.

What is Palliative Care Consult?

A palliative care consult is an opportunity for patients, families, clinicians, and care providers to express concerns or worries about a patient. These may include addressing relentless symptoms, assessing patient/family goals, clarifying prognosis and treatment options, POLST issues and/or placement issues.

Primary goals:

  • To clarify and solidify a care plan that is realistic and consistent with the patient’s needs
  • Assist with symptom management
  • Ensure patients understand their medical condition and prognosis (if they desire such information)
  • Collaborate with social workers and/or Chaplains regarding patient/family anxiety and suffering
  • Improve communication between patients, families, and multidisciplinary team
  • Discuss options for advanced care planning

After the consult, recommendations are made to the referring provider and appropriate team members.

  • A consult is ordered by the patient’s PCP, but anyone involved with a patient’s care may initiate a referral.
  • A consult may be done by a Nurse Practitioner, Social worker or both, depending on the situation.

What type of patients are appropriate for referral?

  • Patient has a complex medical illness with little or no advanced care planning
  • Significant family distress and dynamics
  • Patient has multiple physicians with conflicting agendas and prognostication
  • Chronic and/or progressive illness with frequent ER utilization or hospitalization
  • Progressive or poorly controlled symptoms (i.e. Pain, dyspnea, nausea, fatigue, depression, anxiety, Chronic weight loss, spiritual distress)
  • Declining functional status
  • Confusion and/or discordance regarding the care plan

Is Palliative Care Right For You?

1. Do you have a serious illness such as:

    • Cancer
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Chronic heart failure
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • (COPD)/emphysema
    • Kidney failure
    • Liver Failure
    • Dementia
    • Neurological Disease (ALS, Multiple
    • Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease)
    • Other serious illnesses

2. Do you have symptoms such as:

    • Pain
    • Nausea
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Lack of appetite
    • Constipation

3. Do you experience the following:

    • Frequent emergency room visits
    • Multiple admissions to the hospital with the same symptoms

If you answered YES to any of the above, Signature Palliative Care Consultation is here to help.

Call or contact us if you have any questions, at (503) 682-3989 in Portland or  (208) 642-9444 in Idaho.