When facing a serious medical diagnosis, a hospitalization or symptoms that are limiting quality of life, help is available.
A care team specializing in improving quality of life for patients and their families is on hand at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, Samaritan Albany General Hospital and Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital.
Additionally, outpatient palliative care is available to people with congestive heart failure who live in Linn County.
“Palliative services are appropriate for anyone who is experiencing the challenge of a serious illness,” said Katherine Steele, DO, a palliative care specialist.
The team includes clinicians who educate patients about their conditions and treatment options; nurses who assess symptoms and carry out care plans; social workers who can address psychological or social needs and find community resources; and chaplains for spiritual counseling.
“During visits, we get to know the patient, to understand their medical goals and create a care plan that aligns with these goals,” Dr. Steele said.
The team ensures that people understand the disease process, as well as treatment options. During a palliative consult, patients can discuss managing symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, shortness of breath. A care plan is created in collaboration with a primary care doctor and other specialists, and can be combined with curative treatment, including doctor visits, hospital stays and any prescribed medications.
“Our focus is helping the patient and the medical team to be on the same page. We want to ensure the patient understands their diagnosis, and the medical team understands the patient’s medical goals and concerns,” Dr. Steele said. “We empower patients to live with hope, resilience and dignity.”
To learn more about palliative care for patients and families available through Samaritan Palliative Care, visit samhealth.org/PalliativeCare.