Palliative and Supportive Care
Support for Patients and Families Facing Serious Illness
The Mid Coast Palliative and Supportive Care program provides specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family and provide patients with relief from the symptoms and stress. Palliative care is provided by a team of specially-trained doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with the patient’s other providers as an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
Improves Quality of Life
Palliative care treats people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses including cancer, cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more.
Palliative care focuses on symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and depression.
The program also supports patients emotionally and spiritually. Specially trained caregivers help patients cope with personal and family issues, adjust to new physical limitations, and maintain a good quality of life.
Palliative care specialists often meet with patients, their healthcare team, and their families to discuss the current medical situation and what to expect in the future. They support the patient and the family every step of the way, not only by controlling symptoms, but also by helping to understand treatment options and goals, including:
- What are the patient’s goals? How does the plan for medical care address these goals?
- What are the potential risks and benefits of the plan of care?
- Where is the most desirable place for a patient to receive care?
- Has the patient written down his or her wishes in a healthcare directive or living will?
- Who will make decisions about the patient’s care if he or she is unable to communicate?
The palliative care program encourages patient and family involvement in care planning. Palliative care specialists and the healthcare team can help families identify the resources they need and discuss ways to make this time as meaningful as possible.
To Request Palliative or Supportive Care
If you wish to create a palliative care plan, ask your physician or nurse for more information or call Mid Coast Hospital’s Palliative and Supportive Care Program at (207) 373-6383.
Our Consultation Team
The palliative care team works in partnership with your own doctor to provide an extra layer of support for you and your family. The team provides expert symptom management, extra time for communication and help navigating the health system.
Palliative vs. Hospice Care
Palliative care is for anyone with a serious illness at any age and at any stage of a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. It is not dependent on prognosis. Hospice is an important Medicare benefit that provides palliative care for terminally ill patients who may have only months to live. People who receive hospice are also no longer receiving curative treatment for their underlying disease.
Other Features of the Palliative and Supportive Care Program Include:
- Hospital Consultation Team
- Palliative and Supportive Care Volunteers
- Advance Care Planning
- Palliative Care Advisory Committee
- Spiritual Care
- Community and Professional Education Programs