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March 10, 2017
4 minutes

A serious chronic illness is one of life’s toughest challenges – both for patients and for their loved ones. A specialized service called LIFE Care, or Lifelong Intensive Family Emotional Care, is now available at GRMC to provide patients and families the extra help needed to cope with a serious illness.

How can it help?

– LIFE Care provides a type of service known as palliative medicine, which is designed to improve the quality of life for patients and their families facing the problems associated with serious or life-threatening illness. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering by early identification and treatment of pain and other physical symptoms. Treatment also focuses on the emotional and spiritual issues that the patient and family may be experiencing.

Facts to Understand

– LIFE Care is different than hospice. Hospice is a service for individuals needing end-of-life. Hospice patients can benefit from palliative medicine to make their final months more comfortable and to provide a support system for the family.

– However, it also provides a valuable service to people who are being actively treated for their disease in the hopes of a cure or of prolonged life. When delivered alongside active medical treatment, LIFE Care can help people with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, chronic lung disease, serious heart disease and kidney failure who are on dialysis. These services can be instituted at the earliest stage of a serious illness or condition and continue for months or even years before other care plans, like hospice, are needed.

– This treatment does not mean patients and their families have to give up their physicians. Our professionals do not replace primary care physicians, but instead work with them to provide the best possible medical care for a patient’s illness. This expanded treatment team will include a patient’s primary care physician plus the LIFE Care team, consisting of a palliative medicine physician, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, dietitians and others.

– There is no need to wait. Palliative medicine services can begin as soon as a patient is diagnosed with a serious illness and is starting treatment. Research shows that people with serious illnesses who get simultaneous palliative medicine services experience:

– Improved pain and symptom control
– Improved communication between health care providers, patients and families
– Better emotional and spiritual support
– Increased strength to complete necessary medical treatment

Personalized Care

Under the leadership of Charles Nolan, MD, nephrologist, palliative medicine services are available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis to assist members of our community with support and comfort when they are suffering with chronic or serious illnesses.

“The GRMC LIFE Care program will provide one-on-one care specially tailored to the needs of our patients and their families by providing guidance, education and support services needed to provide the best possible medical care for their illness,” says Dr. Nolan.

A patient’s physician may recommend these services; if not, patients and families can still call to set up a consultation with our team. Remember, palliative medicine enhances the quality of life and may positively impact the course of any chronic illness.

For more information, call LIFE Care at GRMC at 830.401.7474.

About Dr. Charles Nolan:

At the forefront of GRMC’s LIFE Care is Charles Nolan, MD.

Moving his practice to Seguin in early August, Dr. Nolan comes from University Hospital in San Antonio where he practiced for years as a nephrologist (kidney specialist), supporting their transplant unit.

It was through this experience that he realized the importance of palliative medicine, advance care planning, and providing answers and pathways to patients and their families dealing with serious or life-threatening illness.

Learn More About LIFE Care

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