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Palliative Care

Patient Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

When is palliative care appropriate?

Any serious illness may create related health challenges that can benefit from Palliative Care.

Examples of these serious illnesses include:

  • Cancer (any stage) 
  • Dementia/Alzheimer's disease  
  • Respiratory disease (COPD/emphysema) 
  • Stroke 
  • Cardio-pulmonary disease or heart failure 
  • Neurologic conditions (such as severe brain or spinal cord injury or advanced Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/ALS or Multiple sclerosis/MS) 
  • Kidney or liver failure

The early addition of palliative care to a patient’s treatment plan offers the greatest benefits in pain management, quality of life, and overall comfort and peace of mind.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice?

Although Palliative Care and hospice cases are sometimes assumed to be identical, in fact, they are distinctly different. Palliative care can be appropriate at any stage of serious illness – regardless of diagnosis or prognosis – while hospice care is usually intended for a patient who is diagnosed with a terminal condition and in the last year of his or her life. Depending on the case, the Rochester Regional Palliative Care team will work alongside curative and disease-directed treatments or with a hospice program to maximize a patient’s quality of life and comfort from the time of diagnosis of a serious illness to end of life.

Is palliative care only for older patients?

Palliative care focuses on preventing and relieving suffering in patients with serious illness or potentially life-threatening illness regardless of age. 

The goals of palliative care in the elderly are similar to younger individuals; however, elder persons often live with chronic illnesses over a long period of physical decline and functional impairment. Senior care is frequently complex due to multiple medical problems that need careful symptom management and sometimes pose challenging medical decisions. 

The Rochester Regional Palliative Care teams assist with both while focusing on you or your loved one's quality of life and wishes regarding treatments.

Who pays for palliative care?

Medicare and most private insurance carriers cover Palliative Care consultations.

How do I request a referral?

If you or your loved one is coping with a serious illness, we encourage you to ask any member of your medical team about arranging a palliative care consultation. Physicians or nurses may also recommend a referral to Rochester Regional Palliative Care. 

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