MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Relief from the physical, psychological and spiritual suffering of serious illness are available through the Palliative Care Program established a year ago at Northern Westchester Hospital.
The program's multidisciplinary approach to medicine involves physicians, nurses, pain management specialists, social workers, clergy and integrative medicine professionals. Palliative care aims to ease the pain and stress that often accompany serious illness, whether that illness is curable or terminal. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family as well as to improve communication and the coordination of hospital care.
As part of NWH's goal to improve communication they also encourage the designation of a health care proxy on admission. This allows the chosen proxy to speak for the patient in the event they cannot speak for themselves to ensure that their choices in care are honored.
Physicians work with patients and their families on individualized plans, discuss options and coordinate care among healthcare professionals.
Skilled nurses help patients understand their plan of care, assist in education and information and can make referrals to other team members.
Social workers identify and address areas of concern for patients and caregivers and provide emotional support to family members through stress management and coping techniques. They can also provide patients and families with community resources and act as a liaison between patients, families and other team members.
Integrative medicine professionals can provide services that combine complementary therapies with conventional medicine to address the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of healing. Those services include aromatherapy, touch therapy, Reiki energy healing and guided imagery.
The pastoral team can provide spiritual support and guidance to patients.
Individuals seeking a referral for palliative care can do so through their physician or nurse. If someone feels they have unrelieved medical symptoms that negatively affect their quality of life, they should consult their doctor for an assessment for an appropriate referral.
In addition to focusing on relieving or reducing patient’s pain and suffering, the NWH Palliative Care Program has created outreach services involving Health Care Proxies, end-of-life education for patients, and pain management programs for hospital staff.
To learn more about the Palliative Care program at Northern Westchester Hospital, please visit www.nwhc.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Caregivers can also visit the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center at Northern Westchester Hospital for additional support and resources.