Palliative care: A treatment option for those with chronic illness

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Caring for a loved one with a chronic illness can be overwhelming and raise many questions. Concerns may include who will care for them, what living with a long-term chronic illness looks like, as well as where they will receive treatment. For those with chronic illnesses, palliative care may be a beneficial treatment option. 

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness. It is a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that focuses on pain and symptom management and can be performed in conjunction with curative treatments such as chemotherapy. It gives patients and their families resources and support with choosing treatment options, coordinating medical care and improving quality of life. 

The goals of palliative care include:
Education regarding disease progression and prognosis
Assistance with choosing treatment options
Management of pain and other symptoms
Improve quality of life
Coordination of care from hospital to home/care facility
Resources and support for patients and their families
Reduce unnecessary hospital, emergency center and/or physician visits

McLaren Port Huron now has a palliative care nurse practitioner on staff. Allison Stanson, NP, has been a nurse for more than 20 years. She graduated from Madonna University with her Master’s degree and a specialty in palliative care. In her role, Allison works with patients and families to establish a palliative care plan. 

“I work with patients and families to establish their goals of care, then guide them down the appropriate pathway based on these goals,” says Allison. “That may be continuing aggressive treatment, transitioning to comfort care, or something in between. When they are ready to leave the hospital, I help get them home or to the appropriate care facility with the proper support services.” 

If you or a loved one could benefit from palliative care, talk with your primary care doctor about a referral. Click here to learn more about palliative care services at McLaren.