Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Palliative Care? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Palliative Care?

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When you're a patient in the hospital, often times more than just your physical needs must be met. 

"Palliative care looks at the entire person, and their family," said Mina Ford, the advanced practice nurse for palliative care at Martha Jefferson Hospital. 

Palliative come from the Latin word for cloak, and because of this, palliative care is often thought of as a "cloak of comfort."  

"One of the things we really try to do is give the power back to the patient and let them make choices about what's important to them. What care do they want for themselves and what do they not want," said Ford. 

Care is individualized by the members of the palliative care team for each patient they see.  Sometimes, the care might come in the form of helping to understand what all the different doctors are saying.  In 95 percent of all cases, it also means facilitating a family meeting. 

"Part of what we do is ask questions of everyone," said Suzanne Hilton Smith, the palliative care chaplain at Martha Jefferson.  "What are your concerns? What are your questions? What information do you need? Ultimately, it resolves some of the conflict and stress that is present.  It may not help with sorrow or sadness, but it helps with some of the worries." 

It is important to note that palliative care is different from hospice care. Patients do not have to stop aggressive or curative treatment to receive palliative care.  

For more information on palliative care services at Martha Jefferson, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.  

If you have a question about a health topic you'd like us to answer, email us at healthquestions@nbc29.com.

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

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