Palliative Medicine is a specialized form of medical care that enhances the comfort and well-being of people who have chronic or serious illnesses. It’s patient-centered care that addresses the patient’s physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs while providing patients and families access to valuable information and support. Palliative Medicine is available to people of all ages. It can be beneficial for patients undergoing active treatment for their conditions.
The YRMC Palliative Medicine team includes the following healthcare professionals:
- Nurse Practitioners
- Care Managers
- Social Workers
These healthcare professionals pool their experience and expertise to help patients and families:
- Understand the potential effects of various diseases
- Identify strategies to cope with fears
- Determine how best to participate in the healing process
Services provided by YRMC’s Palliative Medicine team include:
Palliative Medicine focuses on keeping the patient as comfortable as possible and includes a review of all of the medications a patient is currently taking. The patient is then carefully monitored so that adjustments to pain medications can be made as needed.
Patients who have chronic illnesses often experience additional symptoms such as breathing difficulties, fatigue, depression, insomnia, constipation or diarrhea. YRMC’s Palliative Medicine team assesses each patient’s symptoms and formulates a plan to address those symptoms.
With YRMC Palliative Medicine, treating emotional well-being is as important as treating illness and its symptoms. Emotional support as well as spiritual support is offered to the patient, their family members and other loved ones to help them cope with the illness and maintain the activities of daily living as much as possible.
Patients facing a serious illness can often benefit from complementary therapies such as massage or music therapy as well as relaxation techniques. The YRMC Palliative Medicine team connects patients with providers of therapeutic services that may be of benefit to them.
Understandably, patients who are faced with a serious illness have many questions that need to be answered. YRMC’s Palliative Medicine team can answer those questions as well as questions loved ones may have. They are also knowledgeable about available medications and treatments.
Having a patient’s wishes for their medical care properly documented in writing can be critical when patients reach a point when they can no longer participate in their own care. Below are resources on advance directives such as a living will, a health care proxy and durable power of attorney.
Guide to Preparing Advance Directives
This guide is free from the Arizona Office of the Secretary of State.
Arizona Attorney General Advance Directives
These forms are available from the Arizona Attorney General.
Arizona Advance Directive Registry Office
Operated by the Arizona Office of the Secretary of State, this registry offers a secure location to electronically store copies of advance directives to ensure availability 24/7.
Very often, as a patient nears the end of life, important decisions must be made about their care. YRMC’s Palliative Medicine team can provide patients and their families with the information they need to make these decisions which may include whether to withhold or withdraw treatment or whether or not to issue a do not resuscitate (DNR) order. The team can also address questions about nutrition and hydration requirements at the end of life and provide information about hospice services if and when the need arises.