Palliative care is a category of health care that allows doctors and providers to improve quality-of-life for patients who are experiencing a life-changing or life-limiting illness at any stage. Palliative care also addresses the whole needs of a patient, not just disease management.
Palliative care serves as a guide for patients and families. Often, patients must make important health care choices for their lives at a time when they are not experiencing a health crisis, helping them prepare for a possible future critical illness. Some examples include:
- Managing distressing symptoms like pain, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, depression and others
- Personalizing ways to cope with emotional and spiritual distress like fear of dying, emotional isolation, existential stress or concerns about leaving loved ones behind
- Planning ways to reduce emergency visits and hospitalizations
- Assisting with advance care planning to include selecting someone who would speak with your voice should you lose that ability
At the UofL Health – Palliative Care Clinic, our interdisciplinary team of health care professionals (physician, nurse, chaplain and social worker) collaborate to address a patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Together, we help name and prioritize your guiding values, hopes, beliefs and goals for medical care. We help clarify your treatment options and ensure that the decisions you make about your health care are best aligned with the priorities in your life.
Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an acute or chronic medical condition. It is often mistakenly conflated with hospice care which is focused solely on the last six months of life.
The earlier a patient seeks palliative care, the greater the benefit will be realized for pain and symptom management, life planning, medical decision making and overall support that includes family.
Palliative Care Outpatient Clinics are now offered at the UofL Health – Chestnut Street Outpatient Center or, for oncology patients, at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center. You can make an appointment with either clinic through a physician or nurse practitioner referral. For more information, call 502-587-4391 or visit UofLHealth.org/Services/Palliative-Care.