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Palliative Care: April 14, 2019

A peaceful environment filled with a compassionate team. Palliative care is designed to treat patients diagnosed with a serious illness. “At any time when someone is facing a serious illness, we get involved at the request of the treating physician. We are an interdisciplinary team that tries to comprehensively minimize distress while focusing on quality of life for people that are facing serious diagnosis,” said Dr. Jonathan Von Koenig, a palliative care physician with Lee Health.

Palliative care adds an extra layer of support to both patients and their families to help minimize stress and comfort the patient’s needs.

Palliative care is provided alongside other medical treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, and COPD medication to help lessen the stress and symptoms. “Sometimes pain or other symptoms like nausea can be a barrier for patients to receive treatments that may provide a cure or prolong their life, so we are there to be supportive so people can get the treatment that they need,” said Dr. Von Koenig.

Studies show patients do better with treatment when palliative care is involved.  “When you get referred to palliative care, you see a physician, a nurse practitioner, nurses, but you also see social workers and chaplains and supportive network of people to help provide care,” he said.

Patients facing any diagnosis that could impact their quality of life may be referred to palliative care--Things like COPD, heart failure, recent traumas, or cancer. “While our patients are often facing difficult situations, we get fulfillment by trying to make a difficult situation a little better.

A caring, team approach to help patients comfortably overcome treatment obstacles.


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