Supportive palliative care is an interdisciplinary medical caregiving approach aimed at optimizing quality of life and mitigating suffering among people with serious, complex illnesses.
Supportive palliative care plans put the patient’s desires, goals and decisions first, while providing pain relief as well as relief from symptoms and stress related to serious or chronic illnesses.
This approach improves the quality of life of patients and their families by preventing and relieving suffering through comprehensive assessment and treatment of pain and other needs, whether physical, psychosocial, and/or spiritual.
At Visiting Nurse Association of Texas, the VNA Care Choices Supportive palliative care program gives patients and families greater control in care decisions by enabling patients to continue receiving treatment while receiving supportive care in the home.
One reason many people choose supportive palliative care is that they are able to keep their own doctor. Especially in the VNA Care Choices program, your own physician can continue to oversee and direct the care. In a time of physical and emotional stress, it can be a huge comfort to patients that they are able to stay with a doctor they already know and trust.
People may also be drawn to supportive palliative care because of their direct access to a dedicated care team that helps manage pain and other symptoms along with spiritual, social, and emotional support. Your care team will include a registered nurse, medical social worker, chaplain, volunteer and a palliative care physician for consultation as needed.
Since no one person or illness is the same, supportive palliative care services are highly customized based on each patient’s unique needs. Supportive palliative care seeks to remove the burden from you or loved ones by taking care of logistics like RN care coordination and understanding which medical supplies are needed in the home. RN care coordination may also involve help navigating patient-centered goals or facilitating communication between you and care providers regarding treatment options.
With physician-directed care and symptom management from home, you are not only able to preserve treatment flexibility, but your chances of re-hospitalization and emergency room visits are much less. In partnership with the patient’s attending physician, supportive palliative care teams can provide advanced care planning and assistance with medication management from the comfort of the patient’s home.
If you or a loved one is facing a serious illness, you may benefit from supportive palliative care. Ask your health care professional for a supportive palliative care consultation or reach out to our team to learn more about the VNA Care Choices program.
For more information, call Sarah Harris, at (214) 535-2615, email Harriss@vnatexas.org.