Just what is Supportive Care? Supportive Care is for people with serious illness, focused on providing relief from symptoms, pain and stress. The overall goal is to improve quality of life for patients and their families. Valley’s Supportive Care team consists of doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers and chaplains specializing in this extra layer of support.
How can Supportive Care help patients and families dealing with serious illness?
- Prevention or relief of symptoms,including pain, nausea, constipation, depression and more
- Help patients and families understand the illness and make health-related decisions
- Identify goals related to patients’ quality of life and medical treatments
- Plan for the future and complete advance care planning documents such as a Living Will, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms and Durable Power of Attorney paperwork
- Provide emotional support for patients and their families
How is Supportive Care Different from Hospice?
Supportive Care works with patients in any phase of their illness with the goal of supporting the patient and improving their quality of life. Supportive Care can be received during any treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, transplant and radiation. Supportive Care is available to all patients regardless of life expectancy.
Hospice provides end-of-life care focused on the last six months of life in terminally ill patients. Hospice care cannot be received while receiving aggressive medical treatments such as chemotherapy. Most hospice care is provided in patients’ homes.
How to Get Supportive Care
If you believe you or a loved one could benefit from Supportive Care while in hospital, please talk to your doctor. If you are an oncology patient, you will have access to the Supportive Care team in the oncology outpatient clinic–ask your oncologist for more information.