November Is Palliative Care Month
October 27, 2021
Palliative care is aligned with Ascension’s Mission, with a deep connection to our Catholic tradition and values that embody the commitment to provide compassionate care for patients and families living with serious illness, including SmartHealth members and their families.
November is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month, a time for understanding and reflection. Ascension and SmartHealth are encouraging all clinicians and members to consider the importance of palliative care by exploring:
- What palliative care means: Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family as well as alleviate symptom burden, improve emotional well-being, and increase communication, continuity of care, and caregiver burden.
- Who benefits from palliative care: Palliative care is an option for people at any age and at any stage in a serious illness. It can help care for patients facing conditions such as cancer, heart failure, lung disease, kidney failure, liver failure, neurological diseases (e.g., ALS, Parkinson’s), and dementia. Palliative care is based on the needs of the patient, not on the patient’s prognosis and it can be provided along with curative treatment.
- How palliative care and hospice differ: Palliative and hospice care share many similarities as both models of care focus on symptom relief, quality of life and family involvement. However, there are important distinctions such as hospice is for people with a terminal illness and who are not expected to live longer than 6 months, while palliative care is for people living with serious illness who may also be receiving treatment to cure their illness or prolong their life.
The Catholic Health Association also highlights the value of Palliative Care in the Call to Care flyer and the Differences between Palliative Care and Hospice guide.