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Palliative Care

Improving Your Quality of Life During Serious Illness

At Portsmouth Regional Hospital, we understand that symptoms of a painful or serious illness can make life difficult and sometimes even unbearable. That's why we provide inpatient palliative (pal-lee-uh-tiv) care—to make you more comfortable and improve your quality of life during treatment. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness or treatment to help you as you're going through an acute or long-term illness.

The purpose of palliative care is to relieve the discomfort, symptoms and stress of serious illness, improving quality of life for both you and your caregivers. Palliative care often accompanies active treatment for illnesses such as:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiac disease
  • Respiratory disease, including COPD
  • Kidney failure
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic sclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Palliative care does not replace your primary treatment. Rather, it works in conjunction with the other treatment you're already receiving to improve how you feel.

How You Benefit from Palliative Care

At Portsmouth, we'll work with you and your loved ones or caregivers to help manage pain, symptoms or side effects while enhancing your quality of life. Your plan of care may include integrative care services that focus on your total well-being—mind, body and spirit. Our caring, patient-centered team works with specialists across the hospital to address:

  • Pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Psychosocial support

In addition to specially trained doctors and nurses, your palliative care team includes counselors, clergy and social workers who provide:

  • Help navigating the healthcare system
  • Guidance with difficult and complex treatment choices
  • Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family

Visit our online Health Library for more in-depth information related to palliative care:

Considering Palliative Care?

To determine if palliative care is the right choice for you or a family member, we've provided answers to common questions we receive from individuals and families. Talk with your physician or primary caregiver about receiving palliative care resources. We also have physicians and nurse practitioners onsite for consultation. If hospice care is needed, we can refer you to a hospice provider that best meets your needs.

Is Palliative Care Appropriate for Me?

Palliative care may be appropriate for those with serious illnesses who are experiencing pain and other symptoms. Consider palliative care if you or your loved one:

  • Suffers from pain or other ongoing symptoms due to a serious illness
  • Experiences physical or emotional pain that is not under control
  • Has a prolonged stay in the hospital without signs of progress
  • Needs help understanding the disease process and coordinating care
  • Needs to establish goals of care and consider further steps for treatment

Will My Insurance Cover Palliative Care?

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care. If costs concern you, a social worker or financial consultant from Portsmouth Regional Hospital can help you explore options.

Who Makes Up My Palliative Care Team?

Your palliative care team works closely with your doctor to determine a care plan to improve your quality of life, but does not replace your relationship with your primary doctor. Your team typically includes:

  • Doctors and advanced practice nurses with palliative care expertise
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Nutritionists
  • Counselors
  • Clergy

When you leave the hospital, your palliative care specialist will help you make a successful transition to your home, hospice or the next level of care.