Understanding Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning

Key Terms and Definitions

OneAccord Health, under the leadership of a diverse and accomplished team, exemplifies excellence in healthcare management and advanced care planning. This summary highlights the career trajectories and achievements of key staff members, each contributing unique expertise to the organization's mission.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care is an all-encompassing medical approach designed for individuals with serious illnesses. It goes beyond standard treatments, addressing not just the physical aspects of illness, but also the emotional, social, and notably, the spiritual elements. This spiritual component is critical, offering support that aligns with the patient’s belief system, providing comfort, and aiding in finding meaning and strength in their health journey. Personalized to each patient’s unique circumstances, including cultural and financial factors, the goal is to enhance overall quality of life through holistic, compassionate care.

Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning is an intentional and reflective process where individuals articulate their future medical care preferences. This encompasses clear communication and documentation of treatment objectives in harmony with one's personal values, spiritual beliefs, and specific medical desires. This planning is pivotal for making informed healthcare choices when one might not be able to voice their decisions, ensuring that their care aligns with their personal ethics and spiritual values Emphasized by (Melhado, 2020).
Advance Directive:

An advance directive is a document that gives information to healthcare providers about the care you want if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. This document comprises two parts: a living will and a medical power of attorney.

Advance directive documents are legally recognized in every state, although each state has established its own parameters for the use of these tools.

Capacity Assessment:

An evaluation to determine a patient’s ability to understand their health condition and the consequences of their treatment choices, vital for informed healthcare decision-making.

Comfort Care:

Medical care exclusively focused on relieving symptoms and stress from serious illnesses to maintain or improve quality of life.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR):

A medical directive indicating that no resuscitation efforts should be made in cases of cardiac or respiratory arrest.

End-of-Life Care:

Care provided during the final stages of life, prioritizing comfort and quality of life.

Ethical Will:

A personal document for sharing one’s values, experiences, and life lessons with family and others.

Goals of Care Discussion:

Dialogues among patients, families, and healthcare providers about a patient’s treatment preferences and expectations for their care journey.

Healthcare Proxy:

A designated individual authorized to make medical decisions on behalf of someone unable to do so themselves.

Hospice Care:

Specialized care aimed at providing comfort and support to individuals in the last phase of a terminal illness.

Living Will:

A legal document specifying which medical treatments an individual would or would not want to keep them alive.

Medical Power of Attorney:

A legal document assigning a trusted person to make healthcare decisions for someone if they become incapable of doing so.

Symptom Management:

The practice of alleviating symptoms caused by illness or treatment to enhance patient comfort and well-being.

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