Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is the medical specialty focused on relief of the pain, stress and other debilitating symptoms of serious illness. The goal is to relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.
Palliative care relieves symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. It helps patients gain the strength to carry on with daily life. It improves their ability to tolerate medical treatments. And it helps them better understand their choices for care. Overall, palliative care offers patients the best possible quality of life during their illness. Care also encompasses recognition that comfort and psycho-social/emotional support of the patient and their family are essential.
The Palliative Care Program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center provides effective and efficient care in a compassionate and holistic manner to patients with a serious, chronic or life-threatening illness. The program provides institution wide consultation services and a specialized inpatient unit focusing on the needs of the patient and family. An inter-disciplinary team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers help provide this comprehensive care.
Consultative and support services are available to patients and their families throughout their hospital stay and assistance is provided with planning for post hospital care.
The Palliative Care inpatient unit is located on the eleventh floor of Brenner Tower. The goals of the unit are to:
- Individualize care of the patient and family based upon needs
- Provide expert symptom management
- Emphasize family support through an open visiting policy with option for overnight stay
- Incorporate emotional and spiritual support for patient and family
- Serve as a transition location for patients waiting to be discharged to home, nursing home, or hospice facility.