The focus of medicine is often two-fold: To cure illness or disease and keep patients as comfortable as possible. But there are times at which cure is not possible, or quality of life becomes more important than longevity. At those times, it is important to focus on the patient’s comfort and quality of life, and provide support to the patient and his or her loved ones.
This kind of care is called palliative care. Palliative care expands traditional medical treatments to include the goals of enhancing quality of life for the patient and family, optimizing function, helping with decision-making, and providing opportunities for the patient’s and family’s personal growth. Palliative care can be delivered in conjunction with life-prolonging care, or it may become the main focus of care.
LRGHealthcare has been providing palliative care for our patients suffering from terminal or life-threatening conditions for many years. However, LRGH recently launched a program that will further enhance the care we provide to patients and families facing serious, life-threatening illnesses.
Created in partnership with Community Health & Hospice and Franklin VNA, this program coordinates the efforts of a multidisciplinary team to address the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The Palliative Care Team includes a core team of a physician who is Board Certified in hospice and palliative care medicine, nursing staff, hospice staff, a social worker and a care manager. In addition, team members including a pharmacist, dietitian, spiritual care coordinator, rehab therapists, pain management staff, caregivers offering alternative therapies, and volunteers will be available to meet the individual needs of patients. Because each patient and family has such unique needs, the Care Team will create an individualized care plan for each person for whom they provide care.
The Palliative Care Team will have a presence in the hospital, meeting on a regular basis and rounding together to evaluate and address treatment issues and goals for patients for whom this service would be beneficial. The Team will be readily available as a resource for patients, families, nursing staff, and physicians.
A life-threatening illness or end-of-life can be frightening things to face, but with skilled, compassionate care and support, these experiences can also be peaceful for patients and families. LRGHealthcare’s Palliative Care Team is working to ensure that we are meeting all of the health and emotional needs of every patient and family facing a life-threatening illness.
For more information on LRGHealthcare’s Palliative Care program, please call Gloria Thorington at (603) 527-2934.