JOPLIN, MO--"Palliative care is really comfort care and what it takes into account is the emotional, spiritual and physical condition of the patient and just about any disease." Freeman Palliative Care Director Patty Thomason said palliative care can go a long way towards improving the quality of life for patients whose time is limited. But making the decision to start can be tough.
She added, "If you think about it, someone with a chronic illness, they've been fighting and they're going to fight this thing and they're going to win. And I think when we come in after the physicians have talked to them. And it's really a cohesive team. They still fight to a certain extent but I think they're more accepting and they understand their limitations better."
At also works with social services and pastoral care to make sure all a patient's need are covered. Said Thomason, "We try to optimize the medical treatment they're receiving. If it's pain medication, if it's shortness of breath in one of our cardiac patients, if we can optimize medication, that's really what it's all about is trying to give people the best possible time they have left, enjoy their families or whatever."