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Palliative Care

Improving Quality of Life

The Torrance Memorial Physician Network Palliative Care program seeks to improve quality of life and decrease suffering for patients with serious, chronic or life-threatening illness.

Palliative care takes into account the person's emotional, physical and spiritual needs and goals — as well as the needs of his or her family. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and can be provided alongside any curative treatments. The services provided by our team focus on enhancing our patient's quality of life by providing comfort and support to our patients and their family members.

Who Can Benefit from Palliative Care?

  • Patients with any serious illness such as cancer, cardiac disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer's, amyotophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and respiratory disease.
  • Patients with uncontrolled physical symptoms such as cancer related pain, shortness of breath, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
  • Patients and families who wish to discuss advance care planning (advance care directive and/or POLST forms).

What Can I Expect?

  • Symptom Management - Expertise in treating symptoms such as pain, fatigue, constipation, shortness of breath and insomnia, as well as emotional symptoms such as anxiety or depression. Symptoms may be present due to the diagnosis itself or the treatment that is being provided.
  • Support Throughout All Stages - Whether you are seeking a cure or focusing on quality of life and symptom control, palliative care provides an extra layer of physical and emotional support for patients and families. The specialist may also help coordinate care and communication when needed.
  • Advance Care Planning - Since outcomes of treatment may be unpredictable, palliative clinicians may assist patients and families when they seek more information surrounding disease progression. When appropriate, we help with knowledge regarding end of life resources and information.

The Palliative Care Team

Members of the Palliative Care team include:

  • Medical Director: A physician skilled in treating pain and uncomfortable symptoms
  • Nurse Practitioner: A nurse trained in understanding the many needs of seriously ill patients and families
  • Social Services: A healthcare professional who assists in meeting the social and emotional needs of patients and families.

Other professionals are available, as needed:

  • Advanced Care Pharmacist: A pharmacist who is experienced in all areas of medications used to manage symptoms
  • Dietitian: A professional who understands how to meet a patient’s nutritional needs during illness
  • Chaplain: Visits are arranged, by request of a patient or family member, to address any spiritual needs

How is Palliative Care Different from Hospice?

Palliative care is available at any time during a serious or life-threatening illness, while hospice care is available only at the end of life — when curative or life-prolonging treatments have been stopped. You don't have to be in hospice to receive palliative care.

How Can I Learn More About Palliative Care?

If you're interested in obtaining palliative care for yourself or a loved one, ask your doctor or your loved one's doctor about palliative care options. Palliative care is covered by most insurances.

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