By 2030, approximately 20% of the United State's population
will be over age 65. For most, these years are a time of good health and independence
but some adults may develop one or more chronic illnesses that they may struggle
with for years before death. These years are characterized by physical and psychological
distress; progressive functional dependence and frailty; and high family support
needs. Recent studies suggest that medical care for patients with advance illness
is characterized by inadequately treated physical distress; fragmented care
systems, poor communication between doctors, patients, and families; and enormous
strains on family care givers and support systems.
The development of the specialty of palliative
medicine has been a critical step in addressing the unmet needs of
patients with serious illness and their families and the growth of this field
has been remarkable. From 2001-2003, the number of hospital-based palliative
care programs has grown by over 60% such that now 1 in 4 U.S. hospitals has
a palliative care program and all U.S. medical schools must provide training
in palliative medicine.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for
people with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing patients
with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness - whatever
The goal is to improve quality of life for both
the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors,
nurses, and other specialists who work with a patient's other doctors to provide
an extra layer of support. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at
any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment.
The Inland Empire Palliative Care Coalition (IEPCC) is a
non-profit organization working to educate, promote, and expand awareness of
palliative care programs and providers throughout the Inland Empire area of
Southern California. We offer health care professionals education and information
on palliative care and an opportunity to network with other palliative experts.
Membership is open to individuals or organizations. Its annual Palliative
Care Conference is one of the tools used in this endeavor, bringing experts,
techniques, and current information to physicians and other health care providers
in a central location with our vast geographic area.
Join the Inland Empire Palliative Care Coalition
and be a part of this important care movement!
Palliative care providers...
Provide expert relief from pain and other uncomfortable symptoms;
Assist in making difficult medical decisions;
Coordinate care and helps in navigating the often-complex
health care system;
Guide in making a plan for living well, based on needs, concerns,
and goals for care;
Provide emotional and spiritual support for you and your
Palliative care relieves physical, psychological,
and spiritual suffering and can accompany traditional treatments that are used
to treat chronic illness like cancer, diabetes, heart, and lung
diseases. It is a partnership between patient, medical specialists, and family.
Palliative care can aid in recovering from an serious illness by relieving symptoms
such as pain, anxiety or loss of appetite, that occur while undergoing difficult
medical treatments or procedures. In some cases patients with cancer who received
palliative care, were more likely to complete chemotherapy treatments and reported
a higher quality of life than those who did not.
Palliative care is certainly appropriate for patients with terminal illness,
but since it focuses on improved function and general quality of life,
it serves individuals and their families who have chronic and/or long-term diseases,
long before hospice or "end of life" care is needed.
Palliative care is provided in many hospitals by palliative care teams. These
hospital palliative care programs may also have an outpatient palliative care
clinic. It may also be available through home care agencies and nursing homes
with a palliative care programs.