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Unlocking Better Lives Through Palliative Services: Keeping Chronic Conditions Under Control

As you’re reading this article, chances are you or someone you know is grappling with a chronic health condition. In fact, 6 of 10 adults in the United States cope with some sort of chronic illness. And 4 of 10 adults juggle two or more chronic conditions at the same time.

These conditions can have a significant negative impact on the quality of life for the people experiencing them. A chronic condition can limit a person’s ability to do the things they want, not to mention the lengths needed to care for or manage each condition.

Yet transformative support is available that many people don’t take advantage of – palliative services.

Understanding palliative services

The lack of turning to palliative care often starts with the lack of awareness about what these services can do, or a misperception about them. Many people confuse palliative care with hospice care. What’s the difference? A major one is that hospice care is for terminally ill patients who have a life expectancy of six months or less. Palliative care can help patients at any stage of any chronic serious illness, far ahead of life’s final months. Palliative care can be especially helpful to people diagnosed with cancer, congestive heart failure, COPD, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or kidney failure.

Another important differentiator is that palliative care can be applied in tandem with curative treatments. To be eligible for hospice care, patients must agree to forgo further curative care and focus on comfort care. But palliative care can work in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other curative protocols. In fact, palliative care can be instrumental in relieving side effects that such treatments may produce.

Different palliative care programs may provide a different variety of services. But as a prime example, let’s look at Delaware Palliative (which is a separate program run by Delaware Hospice).

Delaware Palliative provides these advantages to patients enrolled in the program:

  • Symptom Management – Controlling symptoms and addressing concerns to enhance the quality of life.
  • Care Coordination – Helping patients and families navigate the complex healthcare system for seamless care.
  • Support and Education – Guiding patients and families through the maze of chronic illness.
  • Advance Care Planning – Empowering patients to make informed decisions about their future care.

The positive effects of Delaware Palliative

Another valuable advantage of Delaware Palliative is that experts deliver the services wherever the patient calls home, whether a private residence, assisted living facility or nursing home. After all, home is where the vast majority of patients prefer to be.

Delaware Hospice was a participating provider in a six-year Medicare Care Choices Model that tested the outcomes of receiving supportive and palliative services. As indicators of keeping patients at home with higher satisfaction, the care model yielded these results:

  • 14% fewer visits to the emergency department
  • 26% fewer hospital admissions
  • 38% fewer days in an intensive care unit

No wonder 96% of family caregivers say they would recommend palliative services to friends and other family members. And the sooner patients begin receiving Delaware Palliative services, the greater the impact on improving their lives.

Learn more about how Delaware Palliative can unlock a better quality of life despite chronic conditions. Call 800.838.9800 or visit DelawareHospice.org/programs/palliative-care.

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