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How To Get Palliative Care: 4 Ways To Find A Provider

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Suppose your loved one is facing a serious illness such as cancer, heart disease, or end-stage liver disease. In that case, palliative care can help manage their symptoms, provide emotional support, improve their quality of life, and assist in making difficult decisions about their care.

Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for individuals facing life-threatening health conditions while exploring curative treatment. It seeks to provide relief from symptoms and explores available treatment options.

It’s not just restricted to medical care or symptom management for the individual but provides mental, emotional, and spiritual support for the patient and family members involved.

Wondering how to get palliative care near you for your loved one, we have listed four ways to find a provider in this article easily.

Who Provides Palliative Care?

Palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals working together to improve the quality of life of your loved one during their illness.

palliative care doctor at home with an elderly man

The palliative care team typically includes:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Specialists
  • Therapists (Physical, occupational, speech, and nutritional)
  • Social workers
  • Trained volunteers
  • Spiritual leaders

You or other family members can also be part of your loved one’s palliative care team.

You and your loved one will have regular appointments with the palliative care team to discuss the care plans and treatment options. However, depending on your health condition and preferences, you may not need all of these services.

Where Can Palliative Care Be Received?

Palliative care can be received in a variety of settings depending on the preferences of your loved one.

Care can be provided in a

palliative care nurse helping an elderly man to walk at home

If your health condition or your loved one’s condition is stable, palliative care can be provided at home if preferred. Your palliative care team will come regularly to your loved one’s home depending on the agreed schedule to care for them. Curative treatment options may also be provided at home or in a hospital when needed.

Ways To Find A Palliative Care Provider

There are a couple of ways to find the best palliative care team or provider for your loved one. They include:

Ask Your Doctor

This is the first step in finding a good palliative care team. Your loved one’s primary physician may be able to recommend you to a good provider in your local area.

Sometimes, your loved one’s doctor can offer and start palliative care services. When this is the case, you still want to do your due diligence, ask the right questions, and evaluate the quality of their services to ensure your loved one receives the best care.

Make Use Of Online Directories

Some organizations have directories or a database that can help you locate palliative care programs and services in your area. Some of these are:

  • Getpalliativecare.org: You can enter your loved one address, ZIP code, city, or state to find palliative care programs close to them. You can also filter your search by where you want the care received; whether at home, a hospital, a nursing home, or an outpatient clinic.
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization: Just like the above, you can search for palliative, hospice, and bereavement services near you. All you need do is enter your address, city, or ZIP, or search by a name.

how to find palliative care - palliative caregiver with older woman

Contact Your Loved One’s Insurance Provider

If your loved one has long-term care insurance, these providers may have a list of approved palliative care providers. Contact your loved one’s insurance company to find out if they do.

Additionally, if your loved one has Medicare, or is eligible for Medicaid, these public health insurance providers may have a directory for Medicare-medicaid certified palliative care providers. Be sure to ask them for more information.

Web Search

A web search on Google or Bing using specific keywords may reveal palliative care agencies or providers in your area.

You can use keywords such as “palliative care near me”, “palliative care in [city]”, palliative care providers + [ZIP Code]”.

Search results will offer a good number of care providers, including information like a link to their website where you can find more information. You can also check their reviews online if they have a listing on review sites such as Google My Business or Yelp.

Choosing The Right Palliative Care Provider

Not all providers are created equal, especially for palliative care which doesn’t currently offer services under any national guidelines like hospice does.

Therefore, to choose the right provider, you want to choose a team that is dedicated to putting your loved one’s needs at the center of all they do.

Here are some factors to consider, and relevant questions to ask.

Evaluate the provider’s history and reputation

How long have they been in operation? Do they hire their employers or do they contract with other agencies? What are the reviews and testimonials from patients and their families?

Check certifications, licenses, and payment policies

Are they licensed and certified by your state? Are they Medicare or Medicaid-certified? Are they certified by the Department of Veteran Affairs? Do they accept Medicare, Medicaid, or other private health insurance? Do they offer charity care to families with limited financial resources?

Get details about the extent of care your loved one and family members will receive

Do they provide personalized care plans for patients? Do they offer an interdisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, and therapists to your loved one? How often does the palliative care team visit? Do they provide training, guidance, and counseling for family members?

how to choose the right palliative care provider - older woman with caregiver laughing

Ask about timing, emergencies, and specialized care for complex illnesses

How quickly can palliative care start? Where will palliative care be provided? Will my loved one be looked after 24/7? How are emergencies handled? Is there a trained staff always on site in the event of emergencies? Can the team handle your loved one’s complex health condition?

Ask about supportive service

Are families trained to use medical equipment are home? Are there respite services for family members? Are there volunteers available, and how are they trained? Do they offer integrative services such as music and massage therapy? Is there a team available to guide advanced care planning?

Ask about the transition to hospice

What does continuity of care look like? Do they offer hospice services for when your loved one might need them? Can hospice be offered at home? Do they offer Medicare and Medicaid for hospice?

Other relevant questions you can ask include:

  • What is the procedure or policy for pain and symptom management?
  • Who oversees medical care; what are their qualifications and licenses?
  • Do you offer help with activities of daily living? Which ones?
  • Do you coordinate spiritual/religious support that my loved one may need?
  • Are there financial assistance programs available?
  • What patient/family education resources do you offer?

Let the answers given by the provider in question help you gauge the quality of care offered and determine if that provider is the right fit for your loved one.

You also want to pay attention to your impressions. Were they empathetic, did they strike you as good communicators, how is the ambiance of the place (if you can pay a visit), did they answer all questions to your satisfaction?

Be sure to trust your gut, and go with a provider that offers satisfactory answers to all your questions.

In Summary

You and your loved one don’t have to face the challenges and stress that come with a serious illness alone. A good palliative care team can be the extra support you need to provide comfort care and explore curative treatment.

To get palliative care you can ask your loved one’s doctor for a recommendation, make use of online directories, ask your loved one’s insurance provider for a list, or perform a web search.

Be sure to evaluate the quality of care by asking relevant questions about reputation, licenses, depth of care, timing, and continuity of care like the ones mentioned above.

Go for a provider that provides satisfactory answers to the questions asked and trust your gut.

At Amy’s Eden, we provide compassionate palliative and end-of-life care for older adults facing serious illnesses in their homes or our assisted homes. Contact us today to learn about the extent of our care, and how we can be a shoulder to lean on during this trying time.

 

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