The term “Palliative Care” has been confusing to folks for a long time. The last ten years of my healthcare career was in hospice at our community hospital and we used “palliative care” synonymously with “hospice care”. As I was retiring, a change was happening in the healthcare world and the change could help folks with chronic illnesses, like Huntington’s disease (HD).
When attending the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Annual Convention in Boston Massachusetts last June, I loved that there was a session on Palliative Care. If you would like to watch the session, it’s about 55 minutes long, please visit: https://vimeo.com/345957809
Andrew Esch, MD was the presenter and he is board certified in Internal Medicine with a subspecialty in Palliative and Hospice Care.
Palliative Care is not just a concern for Huntington’s Disease (HD) families, it’s information we all need when family, friends are facing their mortality.
So what is Palliative Care? The Mayo Clinic definition is: “Specialized medical care that focuses on providing patients relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness, no matter the diagnosis or stage of disease. Palliative care teams aim to improve the quality of life for both patients and their families. This form of care is offered alongside curative or other treatments you may be receiving.”
Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained people. They work with you, your family and your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care.
The Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice. Both palliative care and hospice care provide comfort. But palliative care can begin at diagnosis, and at the same time as treatment.
Kaiser Permanente has a palliative care program. https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/palliative-care
Sutter Health has a program: https://www.sutterhealth.org/services/palliative-advanced-illness-management
Check with your hospital system or talk with a Huntington’s Disease Social Worker in your area to find out more about when palliative care is appropriate for your loved one.
We Can Never Lose HOPE…………….