If you or a loved one are suffering from serious, chronic illness, you’re likely no stranger to the emergency room. When someone’s body is already engaged in the fight of their life, any comorbidity seems like an urgent reason to head to the emergency room. However, the emergency room can present its own set of challenges. From viral infections spread throughout the waiting rooms to long and stressful wait times, the emergency room is nobody’s favorite place. With this in mind, it’s worth considering your options. A question especially worth answering is whether a palliative care service can provide the same level of care as an emergency room visit with a heightened level of comfort.
Defining Palliative Care
Dr. Diane Meier is a leading expert in palliative care, and she beautifully summarizes palliative care as “a partnership between the patient and the clinician.”
Palliative care is a service provided by a specially-trained team of physicians, nurses, and specialists, who offer care to relieve the symptoms and stress of a particular instance. The aim of such care is to ensure patients remain comfortable and their families can focus on enjoying their time with them, rather than transitioning to full-time caregivers overnight.
Palliative Care Patient Characteristics
Because palliative care is meant to relieve the symptoms of chronic illness, the first characteristic of a patient who might be a good fit for palliative care is, quite simply, having such an illness. Additionally, patients who are good fits for palliative care exhibit one or more of the following:
- The patient has visited the emergency room more than once, for the same symptom, over the last six months.
- The patient has visited the emergency room due to an inability to control, or manage, physical or emotional symptoms.
- The patient experiences a decline in function, such as refusal to eat, caregiver distress, or unexplained weight loss.
- The patient is requiring care that is becoming increasingly complex.
Palliative Care and the Emergency Room
Interestingly, many patients who invest in palliative care, spend less time in the emergency room, to begin with. Truly, patients in palliative care may not even make the choice of whether or not the emergency room is the right choice for them because they are statistically in better health than those without palliative care.
Patients who receive palliative care spend less time in the emergency room for breathing-related illnesses, memory care, and other such serious diagnoses because they are conditions that can be successfully managed at home. Specialists who can operate breathing machinery, or work with elderly patients who are experiencing memory decline can provide comfort and peace to patients. Rather than trusting your care, or the care of your loved one to a team of strangers, you can opt for palliative care to allow them to receive care from the same, friendly face, in their favorite, comfortable environment.
Choosing to send an already ill loved one to the emergency room can be a stressful decision. One of the best services that palliative care offers is the ability to send a caregiver to your loved one’s home to determine if a visit to the emergency room is truly needed, or if the symptoms they are experiencing can be mitigated within the comfort of their home.
Let Cardinal Hospice Assist Your Loved One
Cardinal Hospice is proud to be a locally owned and operated hospice care provider in the Saginaw, Michigan area. If you choose to partner with us, you can expect that we will offer you:
- Individualized care plans based on patient needs.
- Medications related to the diagnosis of the patient, and their comfort needs.
- Medical equipment needed to optimize care.
- Broad availability to suit the comfort and needs of our patients.
- Partnership with a wide variety of providers, to ensure your needs are met.
We love our patients and feel honored to work with them. Please reach out to us for a free consultation today.