If you or a loved one is facing a serious or chronic condition, you may need extra care to stay comfortable while you’re being treated for your illness. 

Many people have heard of the term “palliative care” but aren’t quite sure what it means. Some people confuse palliative care with hospice care since they are both focused on a patient’s comfort and quality of life. Others assume it’s a treatment reserved for cancer patients. 

But palliative care—also known as supportive care—is much more than a single type of treatment for a single group of people. Palliative care helps many patients with serious illnesses cope with the physical and emotional side effects of their conditions or treatments.

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, palliative care services are provided by a specially trained team of professionals. Our team includes: 

  • Doctors who are board certified or fellowship trained in hospice and palliative medicine.

  • Nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists with advanced training in palliative care.

  • Pharmacists who can safely tailor pain medicines, anti-nausea drugs and other therapies in combination with medications you may need to treat your illness. 

  • Social workers who can help you cope with challenges or connect you with community resources.

  • Chaplains who can offer the spiritual support you need to face a health crisis. 

Their goal is to provide the support you need to get through your medical treatments and help you cope with your condition. Whether you’re struggling with pain, nausea, insomnia, depression or stress, you may benefit from our broad range of palliative care services and other supportive resources.

Understanding palliative care

Unlike hospice care, which refers to end-of-life care for terminally ill patients, palliative care can benefit people of all ages and at any disease stage. In fact, most people receive palliative therapies at the same time they’re undergoing treatments to manage or even cure their illnesses. 

Palliative care can help people with many medical conditions. These include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Cancer

  • Heart problems such as congestive heart failure

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

  • Kidney failure

  • Liver disease

  • Lung disorders including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Stroke

Benefits of palliative care

Palliative care services can help improve quality of life for you and your loved ones. You may experience several benefits, including:

  • Relief from the symptoms of your illness or the side effects of your treatments. These may include pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, insomnia or anxiety. 

  • Increased emotional or spiritual well-being.

  • A better understanding of your illness, treatment choices and long-term outlook. 

  • Help setting goals for (or making decisions about) your medical care.

  • Access to resources such as support groups, advance care planning or financial counseling.

  • Improved communication among your medical caregivers and your family members.

How can I get palliative care?

You may request palliative care through The Christ Hospital Health Network if you are staying in one of our hospitals, or if you are undergoing cancer treatment at one of our outpatient clinics. 

If you’d like to receive palliative care services, simply tell your doctor or another member of your care team. He or she will help you set up a consultation with our palliative care service. You can also contact us for more information. 

Our palliative care team members will work closely with the doctor in charge of your care. This helps ensure everyone involved in your care, including your family members, are on the same page.

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care services.

Why choose The Christ Hospital Health Network 

We know you may need extra care and encouragement to get through lengthy or difficult treatments. That’s why we’ve made palliative support a cornerstone of our inpatient and cancer care programs.

  • The Christ Hospital was the first in the region to earn The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Palliative Care. This Gold Seal of Approval confirms we offer people with serious illnesses a level of patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life. 

  • Our pastoral service supports the spiritual needs of all faiths. We can coordinate a visit from one of our hospital chaplains, or reach out on your behalf to your pastor, priest, rabbi, imam or other religious leader.

  • Your care and support doesn’t end when you leave the hospital. The Christ Hospital Health Network offers home health care services including chronic disease management and 

  • physical rehabilitation.

  • Our accredited Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program was the first of its kind in Cincinnati. It provides in-depth palliative medicine training to physicians who are passionate about supporting patients’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs.