End of Life Care
The Palliative Care Program (also known as End-of Life Care) at Cumberland Healthcare provides care to patients when they are faced with an incurable or progressive illness. The purpose of palliative care is the support of the best quality of life for patients and their families. Care is tailored to the unique needs of each patient and family. The experienced staff will focus on helping people adjust to changing physical conditions, medication needs and symptom control. The physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and social impact illness is addressed. Palliative care at Cumberland Healthcare occurs in the hospital and the Extended Care Unit.
When is Palliative Care Needed?
• Palliative care is needed when a patient with a progressive or incurable illness experiences distressing physical symptoms such as pain or nausea or when the focus of interventions is comfort rather than treatment.
• Patients are referred to the palliative care program when the patient, family and physician agree that the patient is appropriate for comfort care.
Principles of Palliative Care
• Respect for patients and their families as unique individuals.
• Emphasis on quality of life.
• Team approach to address patient and family needs.
• Commitment to the relief of pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
• Incorporation of the individual’s spiritual and cultural beliefs in the plan of care.
• Provision of information and education to positively affect informed decision-making
• Dignified and pain free death.
• Bereavement care for those left behind.
Calm, Soothing and Welcoming Environment
• Hospital routines are modified to avoid unnecessary interruptions
• Families are welcomed and encouraged to stay as they choose.
• Availability of variety of music options
• Blessing quilt provided made by community members to signify the care and comfort offered by the community
• Plan of care developed by a team including the patient and family, physician, nurse, social services, spiritual support and counseling as needed
• Changes to the plan will occur with the team’s involvement
• All aspects of the individualized care are communicated to all staff attending the patient
• Family meeting at admission and throughout the stay
• Open visiting hours
• Space to rest
• Snacks and beverages
• Respect for privacy
Difference from Hospice Care
Palliative care and hospice care share a similar philosophy related to the goals of the care, that is, managing symptoms and providing comfort. Hospice care is also a method of financing care that has specific guidelines on who qualifies for hospice care. Palliative care fills the gap for people who do not have a diagnosis covered by hospice care or who may not be ready to accept that care.