Comanche County Memorial Hospital has a Palliative Care team that works with patients and their families to provide an extra layer of support to patients with serious illnesses.
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care month. However, hospice and palliative care are NOT one and the same.
“Palliative care is a specialty of medicine that focuses on relieving the symptoms, stress, and the pain of a serious illness,” said Paul Gore, CCMH Chaplain.
Home Health and Hospice Medical Director, Dr. Richard Brittingham, says they are different, but they can be used together.
“Palliative care can be applied very early in the case of a trajectory. Almost at the time of diagnosis,” said Dr. Brittingham. “As opposed to hospice care which comes later in the disease trajectory.”
Dr. Brittingham says when a patient is diagnosed with serious illness, it takes more than doctor’s to take care of all their needs.
“We have aids that come into the home that help take care of the basic hygiene needs and basic comfort needs for the patient,” said Dr. Brittingham. “We have nursing that comes in to the home to check on the medications and report on changes in status. And also there is spiritual assistance in form of a chaplain.”
Paul Gore is the Chaplain at the hospital, and part of the Palliative Care committee.
“I’m here to kind of focus on folks spiritual and emotional needs,” said Chaplain Gore. “When they’re in the hospital, there’s a lot of distress. I can come alongside of them and help them cope and get through their time in the hospital.”
Chaplain Gore says they don’t replace patient’s primary care, they are there for an extra layer of support.
“Research says that with Palliative care, there’s less time spent in the hospital. There’s less symptom burden. There’s greater communication. There’s more people satisfied with their care because they’re getting that extra layer of support,” said Chaplain Gore.
Currently, the Palliative Care program is a consultation service. So, if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness, talk with your doctor to see if Palliative Care is an option for you.