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Palliative Care and Hospice may be option for those with CHF

provider holding patient's hand
Palliative Care and Hospice may be option for those with CHF

Palliative care and hospice offers additional care and support to people with progressive diseases such as congestive heart failure (CHF) or end-stage heart disease.

Palliative and hospice care are tailored to the needs and wishes of the patient and family but broadly speaking the differences are:

Palliative CareHospice
Patient eligibility Any age or stage of chronic progressive disease End-stage disease; have a decline in functional status
Life expectancy Limited Estimated 6 months or less
Type of treatment Symptom management (may be pursuing life-prolonging treatment) Symptomatic treatment only, comfort focused
Location of treatment Primarily clinic or hospital Home, nursing home, assisted living and hospital

Staff who are specially trained in Palliative Care and Hospice work with members of the patient's healthcare team to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs and comforts of the patient and family. They work to:

  • Promote enhanced quality of life
  • Provide ongoing pain and symptom management
  • Help understand and cope with illness and its progression
  • Assist coordination of community resources
  • Facilitate goal setting and advance care planning
  • Transition from active treatment to more comfort focus

The Palliative Care and/or Hospice team meets with patients to assess their physical needs. They offer medication and various complementary approaches to manage symptoms such as:

  • Pain and loss of mobility
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased appetite/weight loss
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Lifestyle changes

Most private insurers, Medicare and Medical Assistance cover Palliative Care and Hospice services, or there are private-pay options. If you have any questions or concerns about insurance, contact a Gundersen Health System customer service representative at (608) 775-8660.

To learn more about Palliative Care and symptom management at Gundersen Health System talk to your primary care provider, cardiologist or call (608) 775-9336.

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