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Services can make living with chronic disease easier

October 29, 2013

We’d all rather be home than in the hospital. Imagine being hospitalized repeatedly for the same condition. That can happen to people with serious, chronic conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or kidney failure. Palliative Care Services at St. Mary’s provides an extra layer of support to help those with a serious illness live more comfortably, independently, and avoid frequent hospitalizations.

If a hospitalized St. Mary’s patient is identified as someone who could benefit from additional help, their doctor may consult the Palliative Care team to assess their situation, explains Sister Barbara Aldrich, vice president, Mission Integration. “Depending on the patient and family’s needs, their team may include trained palliative care physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, nutritionists, or counselors,” Aldrich says.

Palliative care doesn’t replace a patient’s medical care. Some patients may learn how to better control their pain or learn more about their illness and treatment options. Others get connected with community programs that help with transportation or household chores. “Palliative care is a very individualized service, and the team can help provide physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical assistance,” Aldrich adds.