Supportive Care is a valuable service for those facing a life-limiting illness, but most people don't understand what Supportive Care is or how to access it. Here's what you need to know:
1. Supportive Care is sometimes confused with hospice or “end of life care.” Unlike end-of-life care, Supportive Care starts at diagnosis and can be received at the same time as treatment. The illnesses of those who participate are not necessarily terminal.
2. There are 834 palliative care programs in 951 care settings nationwide. (National Palliative Care Registry)
3. Supportive Care includes pain management, transitional care planning, and coordination of care. It helps reduce the stress and strain of life threatening illnesses and improves the quality of life throughout treatment for patients with serious illnesses.
4. Supportive Care provides patients with the information to make good decisions for themselves and may help patients avoid undesired effects and costs of treatments.
5. Supportive Care improves care. A randomized trial in 2008 showed improved communication, more hospice care, and less ICU care after inpatient palliative care consultation.1 And a randomized trial in 2010 showed better quality of life, improved symptoms, and improved survival in lung cancer patients seen by palliative care providers.2
6. Supportive Care is available at SVMC. Dr. Allen Hutcheson is dual certified in family medicine and palliative care.
7. Supportive Care is convenient for patients. The physician can meet with patients in a variety of settings: at the hospital, at their specialist’s office, and at the nursing home or rehabilitation center.
If you have a life-limiting illness, ask your primary care provider for a referral to Dr. Allen Hutcheson and Supportive Care Services at SVMC. For more information about Supportive Care, visit svhealthcare.org/services/supportive-care.