Lifestyle

Services available for terminally ill

By Georganne Trandum

For The Courier-Herald

Franciscan Health System’s expanded Palliative Care Outreach programs and services are now available to individuals throughout Enumclaw, southeast King County and northeast Pierce County who are suffering terminal illnesses and have approximately one year to live.

Our services include:

• Private, in-home consultations by skilled, compassionate advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants and social workers;

• Pain and symptom management;

• Guided advanced care planning;

• Home-safety assessments;

• Information about community and health care resources, including hospice care.

Services of the Franciscan Palliative Care Outreach program are for men and women whose primary care physician indicates that he or she would not be surprised if the patient died within a year.

Individuals coping with a painful or life-limiting illness are faced with overwhelming challenges, so it’s hard for them to make difficult decisions and preserve as much quality of remaining life as possible. The good news is that they do not have to face their illness alone. We are able to help them and their loved ones during this stressful time.

We integrate palliative care (i.e., pain relief, symptom management) with education, practical support and connections to a broad range of community programs that benefit terminally ill individuals and their families, even during aggressive treatment of the person’s condition.

We visit patients in their homes and in long-term care settings like nursing homes, and assist with pain and symptom management. We also help them understand their medical options and make informed choices based on their own values and wishes.

Anyone – physicians as well as relatives and friends of seriously ill men and women – can refer patients for Franciscan’s palliative outreach services. Call 1-866-969-7028 toll-free. Our services require approval by the patient’s primary-care physician, which we are happy to obtain. Fee-for-service consultations and in-home visits by our advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants and social workers are billed to Medicare or the patient’s private health insurance provider. Individuals who lack insurance or the ability to pay may still qualify for services under Franciscan’s charity care policy.

In 1999, we launched our unique palliative care outreach program and offered it through select Franciscan Medical Group clinics – including Enumclaw Medical Center – as a free program for terminally ill patients who were not eligible for hospice.

Everyone with a life-limiting illness will become eligible for hospice services at some point. Candidates for hospice typically have six months or less to live. Our Palliative Care Outreach team helps patients, their families and their physicians know when the time is right.

Georganne Trandum is a registered nurse and clinical division manager for the Franciscan Palliative Care Outreach program. E-mail questions to georgannetrandum@FHShealth.org or call 1-866-969-7028. Franciscan Palliative Care Outreach is a service of the Franciscan Health System, which includes Enumclaw Regional Hospital.

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