LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Palliative care is meant to reduce suffering at the end of a person's life. It's not easy making decisions about this type of care but careful planning between doctors, patients and families is a way to provide some relief for everyone in those hard times. The Hospice program at Comanche County Memorial Hospital does just that.
Hospice is for terminally ill patients who have been diagnosed by a physician that they are in the last 6 months of their life. The program helps patients deal with a number of things such as pain control and spiritual issues with the end of life.
"It's very difficult handling the issue of, I'm going to lose my family member and the individual dealing with the issues of being terminal."
Hospice Medical Director Dr. Brent Smith says that's where the focus of hospice comes in for support and comfort. He says the patient can keep their primary physician and they can continue seeing them in their home as well as smith coming to see patients and their families. Smith says most of the care is given by nurses.
"There is a skilled RN who only does hospice care, who's in checking medications, who's checking needs. There are nurse aids who come in and help take care of bathing issues, basic comfort issues," said Dr. Smith.
Patients are deemed eligible for the service depending on what type of health insurance they have, with Medicare being the primary insurance company. Smith says hospice primarily provides services in the home but there are some exceptions.
"In certain situations, you can place people in the hospital for respite care to give the family a break or to intervene for non-hospice medical conditions," Dr. Smith explained.
Smith says hospice also can provide care for people living in nursing homes by supporting what the nursing home is already doing. He says hospice not only helps patients but also their families including extending support sessions and comfort needs after their loved one has passed. He says often times families spend a lot of time and money in hospitals near the end of life but now that isn't necessary.
"If you had an entity like hospice that would come into the home and meet the needs, I think there's a lot of comfort and support that can be provided to where it is a quality time at the end," Smith stated.
If you or a loved one is in need of palliative care, talk with your doctor to find out how Comanche County Memorial Hospital's Hospice program can help your family.
For MedWatch 7, I'm Makenzie Burk.