Palliative Care

Comfort and Compassion from Great River Palliative Care

nurse holding patient hand in bed

If you are dealing with a serious illness, special care is available to help you make decisions, become more comfortable and reduce stress. Palliative care establishes goals of care, clarifies advance directives, promotes symptom management and provides continuity as you move between different health-care services. It addresses the emotional, spiritual and social concerns associated with life-limiting illness.

Palliative Care improves quality of life for patients and their families and complements attending physicians’ care as a consultative service. Our team includes physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other professionals ready to cater to our patients' specific needs.

Your team of professionals:

  • Coordinates care to improve communication among patients, families and healthcare providers
  • Manages pain and other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, fatigue, constipation, nausea and sleep problems
  • Offers counseling and education about your condition and choices for medical care
  • Provides guidance and support with decision making including treatment options, advance care planning, and caregiving needs

How Do Patients Receive Services?

Physicians may refer patients who are in the hospital to the Palliative Care team for a consultation. Your physician remains the leader of patient care. The team works closely with your physician and other healthcare providers to meet treatment goals. With the patient and family, the Palliative Care team re-evaluates goals of care every time a patient is readmitted to the hospital.

Patients who qualify for palliative care:

  • Need help understanding treatment options and making difficult choices
  • Have unacceptable levels of pain or other symptoms associated with cancer, advanced heart, liver, lung, or kidney disease, diabetes, dementia and other diagnoses
  • Frequently visit a physician clinic, emergency department or hospital for the same diagnosis
  • Have prolonged hospital stays without showing improvement

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Palliative Care is appropriate for patients in any stage of a serious illness. Palliative Care can be combined with curative treatments and therapies. Hospice care is for the final months of life.