“Helping individuals live with dignity through the final stages of life” is the mission of Hospice of Western Kentucky. Recently, the organization saw a gap in access to care in the community for those living with chronic illnesses and needing additional support. Palliative care services were quickly determined to be beneficial to improving the patients’ quality of life both here in Muhlenberg County, and across their service area. Palliative Care of Western Kentucky was launched in 2018 as a new service line of Hospice of Western Kentucky.
“Living with a serious or chronic illness is hard,” said Angela Mayfield, Supervisor of Public Relations and Development at Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Kentucky. “It can be confusing, and even scary. Our palliative care team can help,”
Palliative Care of Western Kentucky is a specialized service that supports the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies pay for palliative care services. Patients are cared for under Palliative Care of Western Kentucky regardless of ability to pay.
“Our team will collaborate with your physicians and other providers with the ultimate goal to provide extra layers of support, alleviate pain and uncontrolled symptoms, and improve quality of life,” Mayfield said.
Patients who quality for palliative care under their program receive in-home nurse practitioner and nursing visits as well as 24-hour access to a nurse. It is also important to note patients do not have to have a terminal illness to qualify.
While all hospice care involves palliative care, not all palliative care involves hospice care. The palliative patient may be admitted at any stage of their disease progression, from diagnosis and beyond.
“A good majority of our patients receiving palliative care are oftentimes seeking curative or aggressive treatment options. It’s uplifting to know they can receive support so much earlier on in their journey,” Mayfield said.
The program is funded in part by the Owensboro Health Community Health Investments Grant, receiving $75,000 in grant funding in 2018. This funding has allowed for education support.
During the first year of the new service line, the organization grew to 50 patients under palliative care services on any given day. Now, in the fall of 2018, the organization serves nearly 200 patients benefiting from Palliative Care of Western Kentucky and an additional 100 or more patients and families benefiting from their full hospice benefit if they qualify.
Mayfield hopes the continuing of education in both the healthcare field and in the community will help patients access the services and support they need.
“Anyone can refer a patient to our services or inquire about available support,” Mayfield said.
Palliative Care of Western Kentucky can be reached by calling 270-926-7565.