A palliative care program utilizing the expert healthcare teams of Summit Cancer Center and Accord Hospice is available for our White Mountain cancer patients. Palliative care is a service which focuses on maximizing quality of life by alleviating symptoms and assisting patients in coping with the side effects of the treatments they are receiving. There is no charge for this level of care.
Palliative care is initiated by a referral from the physician when it is determined additional resources are of benefit to the patient. Thus palliative care is provided at the same time as on-going treatment.
Each patient receives an assessment addressing their significant needs in the following areas: physical such as pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, insomnia and shortness of breath.
Emotional issues such as depression, anxiety and fear are addressed utilizing a variety of resources by the experts on the team.
Spiritual needs are addressed as patients and family members often search for meaning and a faith-based system to sustain them through the treatment process.
The practical needs such as financial, legal, insurance and employment concerns, along with assistance in identifying resources related to transportation and housing are addressed. Questions are often raised as to the difference between palliative care and hospice. Palliative care begins earlier in the treatment process and is designed to support the patient with comfort care which includes symptom management during the treatment process. Hospice care is available for patients who are determined to have a life expectancy of six months or less.
While receiving palliative care, a patient may wish assistance in preparing advanced directives. Assistance with decisions regarding end-of-life care and possibly hospice care is provided when the patient is no longer seeking curative care. For more information you may phone Accord Hospice or Summit Cancer Center: 928-537-6937 or 928-532-8013. You may also stop by Accord Hospice, 5658 Highway 260, Suite 9, Lakeside, AX. 85929, Wagon Wheel Complex and speak with one of the members of the staff.
Francesca Moulinier is a retired registered nurse with a master’s degree in the field of social work, and director of community support services for Accord Hospice of the White Mountains.