Specialized Medical Care Services for Serious Illness
Palliative care is a multidisciplinary system of treatment used to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from and coping with serious, curable, chronic, or life-threatening illnesses and diseases. Patients find comfort with palliative care’s holistic approach to treatment and its physical, psychological, social, and spiritual core reliefs.
Palliative Care FAQ’s
• What is palliative care?
• How does palliative care differ from hospice?
• Which medical conditions and diseases can be helped with palliative care treatment plans?
• How does palliative care differ from typical medical care?
• Am I able to receive palliative care while also still seeing my primary care physician?
• Is palliative care covered by my insurance?
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Palliative Care Explained
Q: What is palliative care?
A: Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with a serious or chronic illness. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms, and improving quality of life for the patient and the family. It can also treat emotional, social, practical, and spiritual problems that an illness may bring. This type of care can be given at the same time as treatments meant to cure or treat a disease – or at the end of life.
Q: How does palliative care differ from hospice?
A: Hospice care is a more specialized offshoot of palliative care for patients with a terminal illness, who have an estimated prognosis of 6 months or less. Palliative care patients can continue to receive curative treatments and therapies in accordance with their palliative treatments, and also continue with their Medicare plan as-is.
Q: Which medical conditions and diseases can be helped with palliative care treatment plans?
A: Patients can benefit from receiving palliative care when suffering from and coping with the following diseases or conditions:
• Cardiac problems (heart failure or heart valve issues)
• Neurological problems (stroke or ALS)
• Renal disease
• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
• Alzheimer’s Disease
• Cystic Fibrosis
• Certain organ failures
• Recurrent infections
• Repeated hospitalizations
• Non-healing wounds
• Emotional, spiritual, or psychosocial distress
• Any other serious medical illness or disease that may greatly affect the length or quality of the patient’s life
Q. How does palliative care differ from typical medical care?
A: While general care doctors or physicians focus their treatment on the patient’s general health or treating their illness, palliative care doctors focus on the prevention and alleviation of the patient’s suffering, improving the patient’s quality of life, and helping the patient and their family or loved ones cope with and handle the stress and weight of their condition.
Q. Am I able to receive palliative care while also still seeing my primary care physician?
A. Yes. Your palliative care doctor and other doctors will coordinate so that you are getting the utmost level of care on a schedule that works best for you.
Q: Is palliative care covered by my insurance?
A: Medicare offers some benefits and coverage for palliative care treatments and medications under the standard Medicare Part B benefits. Medicaid may cover some medications and treatments for palliative care, including doctor visits, under their standard Medicaid benefits. Neither Medicare nor Medicaid use the specific term “palliative.” Many Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and private insurance companies also offer some palliative care coverage and benefits as part of their chronic care or hospice benefits. Check with your long-term care insurance or health insurance representative for information regarding your specific plan.