Palliative Care (End of Life Care)
Our team provides compassionate care to those with failing health.
Palliative Care helps patients with very incurable illnesses and their families improve their quality of life. The goal of palliative care is to make life the best it can be when living with failing health.
Affinity Health System offers Palliative Care services at Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Calumet Medical Center in Chilton and Affinity Home Care PATH program.
What can Palliative Care offer me?
Affinity doctors, nurses and other medical professionals help the patient and family understand the illness and what might happen, review the treatment plan, explore wishes and plan for future needs.
Pain & Symptom Management
Patients with serious illnesses may have pain. The Palliative Care team helps the patient and family understand the cause of the pain and treatment options. The team will also work with your doctors to plan treatments for other symptoms, including loss of appetite, shortness of breath, nausea, depression and more.
The Palliative Care team social worker helps patients and families deal with social problems related to having a serious illness, which can include:
- living alone
- elderly or disabled caregivers
- family issues
- little family support
- caregiver stress
Patients with serious illness often struggle with difficult questions:
- Why did I get sick?
- Why is this happening to me?
- Am I all alone on this journey?
- Is a miracle possible?
- Does my future hold any hope?
- What did I do to deserve this pain and suffering?
- Can I be healed?
The Palliative Care team chaplain helps the patient and family to discuss these spiritual concerns. The patient’s own pastor will be included at the patient’s request.
How is Palliative Care different from Hospice Care?
Both Hospice and Palliative Care try to make life better for patients with serious illnesses, but there are important differences. Palliative Care is available whenever patients want the team to help. Treatments to cure the serious illness can continue. In contrast, Hospice is for patients who stop curative therapy and expect to die within six months.
Care for the Caregivers
It’s easy for caregivers to become overwhelmed by a patient’s serious illness. After a patient dies, caregivers often comment that this work was the hardest work they have ever done, but also the most rewarding.
Friends and family often step into the role of caregiver. They may help the patient get around, prepare food and care for personal hygiene. Affinity’s Palliative Care professionals offer caregivers crucial training on what to do, how to do it and what to watch for. We remove the isolation patients and caregivers can feel because we care for the patient, family and close friends together as one unit.
How do I get Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is offered at these Affinity Health System facilities: St. Elizabeth Hospital, Mercy Medical Center,Calumet Medical Center and at home through VAN Home Care. You can ask your doctor or nurse to refer you or a family member to the Palliative Care program.
Affinity Palliative Care Services’ mission is to practice the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. We provide care that promotes health and well-being in Northeast Wisconsin, and we offer physical, emotional and spiritual comfort to patients with very serious illnesses and their families.
- In the spirit of creativity, Affinity Health System staff will explore options for care that will honor each person’s unique needs.
- In the spirit of integrity and teamwork, Affinity Health System staff will elicit, respect and follow the wishes of patients and their families regarding medical care.
- In the spirit of service, Affinity Health System employees, caregivers, family and friends of the patient will be supported from the time of diagnosis of advanced, progressive disease until after the patient’s death.
- In the spirit of stewardship and justice, medical interventions will be offered that provide a benefit and not cause an undue burden.