What is palliative care?
Improving the lives of people with serious illness
Palliative care helps manage the problems and stress from a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the person and those who help care for them.
This type of care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and social workers. They work together with a person’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
Palliative care is appropriate for any age and at any time in a serious illness. It is provided along with other medical treatment.
How can palliative care help?
Palliative care helps people with management of serious illnesses, which can help to reduce trips to the emergency room or hospital. Studies show it can:
- Reduce physical discomfort
- Improve quality of life
- Make living with a serious illness easier
- Provide support for family and/or caregivers
Palliative Care offers support for both the person with a serious illness and those who help care for them.
Blue Shield's home-based palliative care program
What services are covered?
- Help with pain and other symptoms
- 24/7 access to help and support
- Help with making treatment decisions and arranging medical care
- Help with coordinating medical care and communicating with doctors
- Support for the family and/or caregiver
- Access to additional resources
Where are these services delivered?
- In their home
- Via phone or video
Who is on the palliative care team?
- Social workers
- Home health aides
- Other specialists
Who is eligible for palliative care?
Palliative care is a standard service offered to all members with primary coverage from Blue Shield of California, with the exception of FEP PPO, Medicare Supplement, Shared Advantage, and Promise Cal MediConnect.
Palliative care services are in addition to a member’s other medical care at no additional charge.
Servando de Belen had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, so oxygen did not always flow easily through his scarred lungs. His wife, Warlita de Belen, said that, before Palliative Care entered the picture, her husband was going to the emergency room two to three times a month. Once the family started working with their palliative care provider, they did not have one of those ordeals for about a year. Warlita de Belen said that before palliative care “it felt like we were alone”.
Provided along with curative treatments, palliative care emphasizes pain and symptom management, care management and coordination, assistance with treatment decisions, and 24-hour-a-day access to the palliative team's nurses and doctors. What's even better, those patients reported significant drops in pain, anxiety and nausea after admission.
Once Servando was able to enroll in palliative care he no longer had to go to the ER as frequently, Warlita said “his health was more stable”.
The Sacramento Bee
By Cathie Anderson
June 25, 2018