Palliative Care and COVID-19, Your Questions Answered
Did you know we are still offering In-home palliative care? Check out some common Q&As here.
Q. What is palliative care and who can get it?
A. Palliative care is a medical specialty that focuses on helping patients with the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. That could include, for example, pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and any other symptoms that may be causing distress. The goal is to improve quality of life for both patient and family. Palliative care serves as an extra layer of support to help patients understand their disease or condition and live more comfortably with it. Palliative care is offered to people with any serious illness at any stage of disease, even at the time of initial diagnosis. This includes serious chronic illnesses such as COPD, heart diseases, kidney disease dementia and many others.
Q. Is palliative care still available during the coronavirus pandemic?
A. YES! We are still providing this essential care through a combination of services. We can use telehealth for much of our work, and then add in-person visits when it is necessary. This hasn’t been a huge change for us. Many of our patients are confined to home due to their health conditions and we routinely deliver care this way.
Q. Why would I want palliative care, especially now?
A. Patients with serious illnesses already struggle to manage the symptoms and complications of their diseases. Add the stress of today’s environment, and the safety precautions required for leaving the home, and it just becomes harder. Palliative care can make it easier for caregivers as well as patients to cope. It also eliminates the stress of needing to leave the house for care.
Q. Can you provide palliative care to someone with COVID-19?
A. Yes, we are prepared to do so, although we have not yet encountered a patient who has tested positive for the virus. Our staff is screened twice per day for fever and other symptoms. We also have all the necessary personal protective equipment and training to go into the home safely when needed.
Q. Is palliative care covered by insurance?
A. Palliative care is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare. However, 60 percent of Americans who qualify for palliative care don’t use it. Many patients simply don’t know the care is available, or don’t realize they might benefit from utilizing it. That’s unfortunate, because palliative care is a valuable service that helps many people achieve a better quality of life.
Q. How would I request palliative care?
A. Talk to your physician if you feel that palliative care might be right for you or a loved one. Once we receive a referral from your physician, our team will schedule an evaluation to start a plan of care. If you have questions, please call us at (616) 846-2015.