FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Palliative care is compassionate comfort care that provides relief from the symptoms and the physical and mental stress of a serious or life-limiting illness.
Hospice care is compassionate comfort care, not curative care, for people facing a life-limiting illness. These patients may have a prognosis of six months or less, based on their physician’s estimated prognosis. When curative treatment ends, the focus becomes providing comfort for the patient, alleviating pain, and attending to spiritual and emotional needs.
While both palliative care and hospice care are very similar, the main difference between them is palliative care is care that can be provided while curative treatments are being sought. Hospice care is comfort care without curative intent.
Both hospice and palliative care aim to manage pain and provide relief from symptoms. When a patient has exhausted all curative options or chooses to forego treatment because those treatments are significantly affecting quality of life, hospice care may then be appropriate.
The NorthStar Palliative Care Team consists of a physician or a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, or a nurse navigator. The team collaborates with the patient’s other doctors to address their medical, physical, emotional and spiritual pain, while holistically supporting the needs of the caregivers and family.
The NorthStar Palliative Care team comes right to you – there’s no need to schedule an office visit. All NorthStar Palliative Care visits are in the comfort of wherever a patient calls home – whether it is a private residence, nursing home, memory care facility, or assisted living facility.
NorthStar Palliative Care support can begin anytime upon receiving a terminal diagnosis and throughout the duration of the illness while curative treatment is being sought, through to the end of life.
Any physician or healthcare team member can make a referral to NorthStar Palliative Care, or patients and families can request a referral themselves. NorthStar Palliative Care will obtain medical information to determine eligibility for services and communicate with the managing physician after every visit.
When home is a care facility, NorthStar Palliative Care communicates with the nursing staff to coordinate care. When family is spread across wide distances, NorthStar Palliative Care can conference in by phone, if requested, to help keep everyone up to date.
For additional information or to arrange treatment, call us at 877-227-8823.
No. In palliative care, a person does not have to give up treatment that might cure a serious illness. In fact, NorthStar Palliative Care adds layer of support to a patient’s current care team. Palliative care can be provided along with curative treatment and may begin at the time of diagnosis. Over time, if the doctor or the palliative care team believes ongoing treatment is no longer helping, a patient could transition to hospice. The palliative care team would continue to help with increasing emphasis on comfort care.
A member of the NorthStar Palliative Care team will visit the patient as often as is medically necessary. Visits can be arranged earlier than scheduled when symptoms flare or conditions change.
NorthStar Palliative Care is a resource for anyone living with serious illness, such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, and many other conditions. NorthStar Palliative Care may be helpful to anyone having a lot of general discomfort and disability.
Symptoms that can be addressed include pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and anxiety.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has identified the characteristics of a patient who should receive palliative care but not curative treatment; these characteristics are applicable to patients with other diseases, too.
- The patient has limited ability to care for himself.
- The patient has received curative treatment and is no longer benefitting from it.
- The patient does not qualify for an appropriate clinical trial.
- There is no evidence that further treatment would be effective.
Talk to your family and your doctor about your goals of care and whether palliative care and/or hospice might improve your quality of life.
As part of standard benefits, Medicare Part B and Medicaid cover some NorthStar Palliative Care medications and treatments, including visits from doctors and nurse practitioners. Medicare Part B covers 89% of charges and is subject to a co-pay and deductible. Co-pays are billed to secondary insurance and/or covered by the family.
Many insurance providers offer complete or partial coverage for NorthStar Palliative Care, just like other hospital or medical services. The NorthStar Palliative Care teams can help you and your family understand coverage and payment options.
Call NorthStar Palliative Care to learn more about palliative care options.
NorthStar Care Community believes everyone in our reach has the right to the best end-of-life experience possible, filled with comfort, dignity, and peace. We strive to fulfill that mission no matter what the patient’s age, diagnoses, complexity of care, place of residence or financial circumstances.