Palliative Care and Why its So Important in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on

May 25, 2021

Within many uncertain moments of the pandemic, palliative care has been the hidden tool to face the multifaceted issues that arise. It is being utilized as it should: for patients with serious illness where medical intervention can cause more harm than good.
Palliative care offers more than meets the eye. It provides a window to deliver quality at such a delicate and crucial time. Advocacy in areas of goal making, legal, financial, social, psychological, spiritual and physical concerns are accomplished through palliative care.
Its a safe place for patients and families to be heard and valued, and foster collaboration among medical teams. Coronavirus can cause rapid deterioration, so advanced care planning is imperative. Palliative care hotlines and mobile units became new innovations to address the surge of consultations.
Stockpiles of comfort medications such as morphine, scopolamine, and midazolam are supplied together and essential. COVID-related pneumonia, and the variable clinical manifestations we are seeing in different populations, requires expert management of fever, dyspnea, upper airway congestion, nausea, anxiety and delirium.
Telemedicine has reduced infection and improved efficiency of healthcare delivery. With symptoms managed we can then address caregiver grief and better support patients with marginalized populations, those most at risk for being underserved. During this pandemic, equital healthcare and autonomous decision making are threatened in the realms of election of life prolonging therapy in all healthcare settings.
Palliative care also lowers societal and healthcare costs by $3K per palliative consultation. My palliative care teams have led to $7 million dollars of cost savings, reduced readmission rates from 22% to 6% in nursing homes, and compassionately served thousands of patients toward quality of life and dignity, regardless of their illness progression.
People start feeling better right away when they can make well informed decisions and have their symptoms managed well. Palliative care is a human right and serves humanity well when integrated into hospital systems.

Editors Note: Dr. Kuljit Kapur is the Chief Medical Officer for Transitions Hospice serving northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. For more information on Palliative Care or Hospice, please call 877-726-6494 or visit

Other Articles You May Like

Skilled Nursing: Providing Essential Care and Expertise

Skilled nursing, often referred to as nursing care, is a crucial component of the healthcare system that caters to individuals who require advanced medical attention and assistance due to various health conditions. This specialized form of care is typically provided by licensed and trained nurses, including registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), who possess the expertise to administer complex medical treatments, manage chronic illnesses, and ensure the overall well-being of patients.The Role of Skilled Nursing:Skilled nursing goes beyond the basic care provided by caregivers or certified nursing assistants (CNAs). It involves a higher level of medical expertise and involves tasks that demand clinical judgment and knowledge. Skilled nursing services are often required for individuals who are recovering from surgery, managing chronic diseases, or dealing with acute medical conditions that demand close monitoring and specialized interventions.Key Responsibilities of Skilled Nurses:1.Medication Administration: Skilled nurses are responsible for administering medications, including intravenous medications, injections, and oral medications, while closely monitoring their effects and potential side effects.2.Wound Care: Skilled nurses excel in wound management, particularly for complex wounds that require specialized dressing changes, infection control, and monitoring for signs of complications.3.Medical Assessments: These nurses perform comprehensive medical assessments, which involve monitoring vital signs, evaluating symptoms, and recognizing any changes in the patient's condition. This helps in identifying potential issues early and implementing appropriate interventions.4.Ventilator and Respiratory Care: Skilled nursing is essential for patients who require assistance with ventilators or other respiratory support systems. These nurses ensure proper functioning of equipment, airway management, and patient comfort.5.Rehabilitation: Patients recovering from surgery, injury, or illness often require rehabilitation services. Skilled nurses coordinate with therapists and physicians to develop and implement personalized rehabilitation plans.6.Pain Management: Managing pain effectively is crucial for patients with acute or chronic conditions. Skilled nurses assess pain levels, administer pain medications, and monitor the patient's response.7.Disease Management: Patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease benefit from skilled nursing to manage their conditions. Nurses educate patients about their illnesses, provide guidance on medication management, and monitor their overall health.Settings for Skilled Nursing:Skilled nursing services are provided in various settings, including:1.Hospitals: Skilled nurses play a critical role in hospital settings, assisting with post-surgery care, wound management, and patient education.2.Long-Term Care Facilities: Nursing homes and assisted living facilities employ skilled nurses to provide ongoing care for residents with complex medical needs.3.Home Healthcare: Skilled nursing can be delivered in the patient's home, allowing individuals to receive medical care while remaining in a familiar environment.4.Rehabilitation Centers: Patients undergoing rehabilitation for injuries, surgeries, or illnesses receive skilled nursing as part of their comprehensive treatment plan.Conclusion:Skilled nursing is an indispensable aspect of healthcare that combines medical expertise with compassionate care. Skilled nurses play a pivotal role in ensuring that patients receive the necessary medical treatments, monitoring, and support they need to recover from illnesses, manage chronic conditions, and lead healthier lives. Their commitment to delivering high-quality care contributes significantly to the well-being of individuals across various healthcare settings.

Choose the Care thats Right for You

Understand your healthcare options. This makes all the difference when it comes to selecting the provider thats a match for you. As you face serious and/or life-limiting illnesses, palliative and hospice care enhance your existing medical care. They work in tandem with your current doctors and treatments. Palliative CareIf you have been diagnosed with a complex or terminal illness, palliative care can improve your quality of life by managing pain through additional visits from registered nurses. Your palliative care nurse works with your physicians and specialists. In addition, palliative care supports patients and families through the stress of living with an illness and can help improve their overall quality of life. Hospice CareHospice care isnt just for cancer patients or seniors. It provides emotional, spiritual, and physical comfort to anyone with a life-limiting illness. Wherever a patient calls home, hospice care comes to you. Hospice caregivers also deliver medications, medical equipment, and supplies. Additional ServicesWhen you think of healthcare, you rarely consider the extra help you may need to get through your day. Volunteer, chaplain, and bereavement services go above and beyond normal service offerings. In finding the care provider thats right for you, be sure to ask about all of their services and compare multiple providers. Covered ExpensesMedicare or Medicaid cover almost all palliative and hospice expenses, while private insurance picks up the rest. If your condition improves, you can transfer from hospice to palliative care. Selecting a Healthcare ProviderSelecting healthcare services can feel daunting. Remember, you are more than a patient. You are a person. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect at every stage in your life. Before you decide on a care provider, meet with the staff to make sure theyre a good fit for you. If at any point, you arent happy or comfortable with your care, let the company know. Youand your healthcarematter. *****Editors Note: This article was submitted by Larry Woods, CEO of Agape Healthcare. For more information, call 720.482.1988 or email See ad on the inside front cover.

Pain Matters - Palliative Care from Agape Healthcare

In her post, What I Learned From Off-the-Charts Pain, Jennifer Moore Ballentine notes, until you handle the pain, nothing else matters. Ballentine, the Executive Director of Californias Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care, also notes that the treatment of pain can require a mix of traditional, non-traditional and sometimes unorthodox approaches (as in playing a Dead Can Dance track repeatedly through your ear buds).Managing pain is science and art. Palliative medicine includes all kinds of help and support for patients (and family), but relieving pain is the first order of business.Agape providers are skilled at assessing a persons pain picture and expert at relieving physical suffering. Pain can be complex, related to disease burden, treatment or both (or other). Complex scenarios call for multi-faceted approaches: pharma, holistic therapies, practical strategies and sometimes, a playlist.Sometimes people feel better in a matter of hours; for others its a process, like unwinding a tangle of string or navigating a crisis (and Agape NPs help people plan so they avoid pain crisis related to treatment). Because until you address pain, nothing else matters.