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Neurology Supportive and Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses.  It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness.  The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.  Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to focus on physical, psychosocial, and spiritual concerns, in addition to providing an extra layer of support.  It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

Improves Quality of Life

Palliative care focuses on symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and depression.  Other goals of the palliative care team are to help patients gain the strength to carry on with daily life, to improve tolerance of medical treatments, and to help empower the patient and family by improving communication so that choices for treatment are better understood. It will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness. Numerous studies - including randomized trials - provide evidence that palliative care improves pain and symptom control, improves family satisfaction with care and reduces costs. Palliative care does not accelerate death, and may prolong life in selected populations.

What is "Neuro-Palliative Care"?

Neuro-palliative care is the application of the palliative care approach (described above) to patients with incurable neurologic diseases.  Neuro-palliative care is targeted to people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as dementia (Alzheimer’s and other types), movement disorders (such as Parkinson disease), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, and many more

A Partnership of Patient, Specialists and Family

Palliative care is a team approach to care.  Typically a palliative care team includes phyisican, nurse, and social worker, but it often involves a chaplain, psychologist or psychiatrist, physical or occupational therapist, dietitian, massage therapist, pharmacist, and others, depending on the patient's needs.

Our team spends as much time as necessary with you and your family.  We develop a partnership with the patient, the family, and the other doctors.  We support the patient and family every step of the way, not only by managing symptoms, but also by helping to clarify treatment options and goals.  Working together with the primary doctor, our palliative care team provides:

• Close communication

• Expert management of pain and other symptoms

• Help with navigating the healthcare system

• Guidance with difficult and complex treatment choices

• Emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family

• Links to community resources