Will a "palliative care plan" restrict what can be done for the patient?
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VITAS provides aggressive treatment of all the patient’s symptoms, including pain and other physical symptoms, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual symptoms. All interventions focus on enhancing the patient's overall comfort and quality of life.
VITAS uses the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS), a tool used for assessing a patient’s functional status, to help collaborate on a palliative care plan.
With the focus on symptom management rather than treatment of the primary disease, there is a limited role for many traditional disease-modifying therapies, such as:
- Radiation therapy
- Blood transfusions
- Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
- Parenteral hydration
- Enteral feedings
When a VITAS patient receives one of these treatments, it is because the VITAS physician and interdisciplinary team, the attending physician and the patient and family all agree that:
- The primary goal of the therapy is to manage one
or more symptoms.
- The therapy has a high probability of being
effective in relieving the symptom(s).
- The benefits of the therapy outweigh any potential
side-effects of the treatment.
- The patient is expected to live long enough to
benefit from the treatment.
- The patient agrees to the intervention.
What are the most frequent symptoms that VITAS helps manage?
- Profound weakness
- Bowel obstruction
- Multi-system deterioration