For more information
Call 651-635-9173

Who is it for?

When to consider palliative care

Allina Health Palliative Care can help people with chronic or advanced illness and may have:

  • lost hope and become depressed
  • not responded well to medications and still have pain
  • considered hospice but do not feel ready for it
  • disagreements with their family regarding the management of their illness
  • persistent difficulty with anxiety, delirium, depression, nausea, anorexia or constipation
  • recurrent hospitalizations
  • no or little improvement after treatment for MI or stroke
  • difficulty with the management of an illness
  • a care plan that has not provided the results hoped for by the patient and physician
  • medication costs that do not provide the intended relief and are becoming a financial hardship to the patient.

Agnes' palliative care story

Agnes was diagnosed with ovarian cancer the year her husband died. She underwent surgery with no further chemotherapy or treatments. She had just learned that the cancer had come back and spread to her bladder and abdomen.

The only family she had was a sister-in-law and nephew. She had no health care directive.

She was afraid of being in pain and didn't want to go through the ordeal that her husband did when he died of lung cancer.

Allina Health Palliative Care met with Agnes four times and provided several telephone calls from an expert nurse for symptom management and family support.

  • The palliative care nurse accompanied Agnes and her sister-in-law to her first cancer doctor visit. The nurse helped Agnes and her family understand her disease and treatments that were presented by the doctor.
  • The social worker met with Agnes, her nephew (power of attorney), and sister-in-law to discuss resources, assist in completing her health care directive, and future planning options.
  • The palliative care nurse visited a third time to provide assessment and treatment options to manage her abdominal pain and bladder spasms.
  • At the time that Agnes' quality of life started to decline, the nurse visited to discuss and assist Agnes' transition from palliative care to hospice care.
  • Agnes spent her remaining months at a care facility with hospice support.

Source: Last Acts, a national coalition to improve care and caring near the end of life
Reviewed By: Gloria Cade, RN, BSN, CHPCA, director, hospice & palliative care
First Published: 08/21/2004
Last Reviewed: 02/07/2014