Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness and significant injury. It's focused on providing relief from symptoms and stress, and its goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their loved ones.
Palliative care is patient-centered, family-oriented and compassionate. It provides that extra layer of physical and emotional support throughout all stages of a serious illness or injury.
The illnesses most commonly treated by palliative care are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, renal disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Palliative care can be appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness.
Significant or life-limiting injuries can be treated with palliative care. Some examples include traumatic brain injuries or spine injuries resulting from a car accident. Some injuries due to falls can also be treated with palliative care—for example, if a fall results in a broken pelvis or concern over the patient's ability to regain mobility.
Mabelle was recently released from the hospital. A Regence palliative care case manager, Danielle, reached out to Mabelle. During their conversation, Mabelle confided that she was worried about her husband, Simon, who was 82 and trying to take care of her all by himself in their home. Mabelle was concerned for his safety—especially when he lifted her in and out of the tub at bath time (in addition to the other chores he'd taken on).
Danielle explained to Mabelle that their palliative care benefit—which is part of their Regence plan—covers home health care services for situations just like theirs. "But I'm not dying!" Mabelle exclaimed. Danielle assured Mabelle that palliative care is not end-of-life care; it's for people who are seriously ill or injured and need extra support. Danielle said, "Palliative care is about living as well as possible!"
Danielle contacted Mabelle's doctor, who agreed that Mabelle would benefit from the additional assistance while she continued to receive treatment for her illness. The doctor authorized a contracted home health service agency to schedule routine visits to provide Mabelle and Simon with the help they both needed for her recovery.
Regence Personalized Care Support—which is included in most health plans—is our program for delivering our palliative care coverage. It offers one of the most comprehensive palliative care benefits in the industry.
Personalized Care Support includes adult and pediatric case management. Case managers help coordinate care, explain your benefits and resources, act as an advocate and provide support and advice.
The program also includes:
- Home health medical services: pain and symptom management
- Home health psychological and social services: family counseling, marital counseling and spiritual support visits
- Caregiver support: for any caregiver of a Regence member whether or not they're members themselves (also, Regence members who are caregivers of nonmembers can receive caregiver support)
Advance care planning: capturing the patient's goals and preferences for care
If you or a loved one is facing serious illness or injury, you may benefit from palliative care. To learn more, contact us or call the Regence Case Management Intake Line at 1 (866) 543-5765.
Here are some additional resources:
CaringInfo (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
Center to Advance Palliative Care