Cancer Care Center
About Our Palliative Care Program
When dealing with illness, people often suffer needlessly from pain, nausea, shortness of breath, and limited mobility. This can cause them to stop doing the things that give them joy and satisfaction, sometimes causing them to become isolated and depressed.
The goal of palliative care is to achieve pain control and alleviate suffering by managing symptoms and other troubling concerns patients may have during illness. A team of health care professionals works to make this possible.
“Palliative care is an option for any patient who is dealing with a serious disease that affects their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being,” explains William Lerner, M.D., a hematologist/oncologist and medical director of the palliative care program at Ocean University Medical Center. “It’s not only for terminal illness. In fact, it is often used to help patients at the same time they receive aggressive treatments.”
Palliative care focuses on quality of life and comfort measures, like treating symptoms or managing pain, that can come with aggressive therapy or conditions such as chemotherapy, dialysis, or cardiovascular disease. Patients can receive palliative care when they are hospitalized, when they transition to a nursing or rehabilitation facility, or when they return home.
For some patients, hospice care is often the right transition from palliative care for patients with less than six months to live who no longer wish to seek aggressive treatment.
“Regardless of the type or stage of a disease, people should feel comfortable asking their doctor for a palliative care consultation at any point during their treatment,” says Dr. Lerner.
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