The Miami Valley Hospital Palliative Care Program serves the chronically ill and terminally sick with comfort as the primary goal of care. Cases are commonly patients with cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, trauma and infection.
Miami Valley Hospital's Palliative Care Program was one of the first hospital-based programs in the Dayton region. The Joint Commission—a national deeming authority for the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare Services—granted disease-specific certification to the Palliative Care team. This certification was one of the first of its kind in the nation.
The MVH Palliative Care program serves hospitalized patients, and provides related education programs for both hospitalized and same-day patients. Miami Valley Hospital's Foundation fully funds the palliative program at Miami Valley Hospital Cancer Center.
Some cancer patients have a life-limiting illness. Therefore, we believe that a person’s comfort is very important. The Palliative Care team may assess Miami Valley Hospital oncology patients whose primary goal for care is to aggressively manage their comfort. Symptoms might not only be physical, but can include emotional and spiritual needs. Effective symptom management leads to an improved quality of life, which is a high priority for our caregiving staff at the MVH Cancer Center.
The care process starts by informing the patient. Miami Valley Hospital oncology patients get a realistic picture of their chances of recovery, and an explanation of what happens if their condition deteriorates. The patient’s physician provides this information, and then the patient’s wishes are relayed to the Palliative Care team. Wishes include: what treatment they expect, outcome of treatment, what resuscitation efforts are to be used if their condition worsens, etc.
Symptom management and maximizing the quality of life for the patient are the goals of their treatment at MVH Cancer Center. Commonly, the MVH Cancer Center team is focused on relieving pain, maximizing breathing ability, and controlling nausea, vomiting and constipation.
There is also a strong dedication in tending to spiritual needs and other psychological or social issues a Miami Valley Hospital oncology patient and family may have. If needed, our staff is ready to address life-closure issues.
A patient's family is often a key component to Palliative Care. In this way, the Miami Valley Hospital Cancer Center team helps the family feel in command of those care elements over which they do have control. The MVH Cancer Center team may coordinate family meetings with physicians, and keep track of the patient's condition with current reports from the physician.
Unfortunately, a dying patient and his or her family have a lot of decisions to face, including:
- Does the patient have or want a living will?
- What affairs need to be put in order?
- What's the best way to handle medical and funeral costs that won't burden loved ones?
The sooner a patient's advanced directives are discussed with thoughtful consideration and planning, the sooner the family is aware of their wishes. A patient can also choose a family member to act as a health care agent and make decisions for them when they are no longer able.
The Palliative Care team is available to coordinate information for patients and their family members.