“What is Palliative and Hospice Care”
By Connie De La Rosa
A Palliative care program provides patients the benefits of both home health and hospice programs. “It is for patients who are still pursuing aggressive treatment for their illness to promote quality of life not end of life” states Teri Helton Program Manager for Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association. Through palliative care, a treatment team addresses the whole family’s emotional, spiritual, and social needs in addition to the patient’s medical treatment along with providing the necessary resources. If a patient improves, they are then able to transition to home health and recovery. “When the patient is no longer seeking a curable treatment, the team is already in place to transition into hospice care” states Teri Helton. It is important to keep in mind that a patient may improve their condition so they no longer need Hospice Care.
Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association, has been an advocate of a more holistic patient-centered approach when coordinating medical care. Their main concern has always been for their patient’s wellbeing such as meeting their spiritual and emotional needs along with their medical treatment as well as support to their loved ones and caregivers.
How does Hospice work? Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week which offers, Skilled Nursing Care, Medication for pain and symptom control, Medical Social Worker, Chaplain Services, Registered Dietitian, Physical, Occupational, Speech Therapist and Bereavement Care.
Who Pays? Medicare, Medi-Cal and other insurance cover hospice care. Livingston Hospice is a non-profit organization and actively fundraises in order to subsidize the cost of hospice care for patients with inadequate financial resources in order to serve all qualified patients of Ventura County regardless of inability to pay.
For more information on Palliative and Hospice care you can call 642-1608 or visit their website www.lmvna.org