About Palliative and Hospice Care and Advance Directives

Palliative Care is for patients of all ages with chronic illnesses that stop them from living a full life. It is for patients who:

  • Suffer from pain or other symptoms due to a serious illness
  • Need help understanding their care and illness

For more information about Palliative Care please contact Shawn Berigan, Program Coordinator for Palliative Care and Advance Planning, by phone at (704) 512-2275 or by email at Shawn.Berigan@carolinashealthcare.org.

Hospice Care helps patients at the end of life.

Advance directives make your end of life wishes known to your loved ones. They offer peace of mind when you are not able to speak for yourself.

Advance Directives

Legal and written documents about the health care you want if you cannot make choices for yourself. They give you a way to tell your wishes to your family, friends, and doctors.

North Carolina has three ways to make an advance directive:

  • Living Will
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment

It is a legal document that tells what treatment you want at the end of your life.

  • It is a legal document in which you choose someone else to make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.
  • The person you choose is called your health care agent or health care proxy.
  • To make medical decisions, information is used from:
    • Your Living Will
    • Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment
    • What your health care agent personally knows about your wishes
  • Your primary care manager or network palliative care coordinator can send you the forms.  They are also online at the North Carolina Secretary of State website. www.secretary.state.nc.us/ahcdr
  • Please also keep in mind the forms must be:
    • Written or printed
    • Witnessed by two qualified adults
    • Notarized
    • Signed while you are still able to make care decisions
  • You may wish to send your advance directives to the North Carolina Advance Health Care Directive Registry. To learn more go to: www.secretary.state.nc.us/ahcdr
  • It is important to give copies of your advance directives to your:
    • family
    • doctor
    • health care agents
    • mental health providers
  • Always take a copy with you to the hospital so it can be placed in your chart.
  • Keep a copy in a safe and convenient place for you and your family.

It is a legal document that tells doctors what mental health treatments you would want and what treatments you would not want, if you become unable to choose for yourself.

Decisions about your care may be made by a doctor who does not know you, or even by a judge if you do not have a:

  • Living Will
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment

When you have an advance directive your doctor and loved ones won’t have to guess what kind of care you want.

  • Your advance directive will only be used if you become unable to make or express decisions yourself.  It’s never too soon to prepare an advance directive.
  • The documents would be used if you were badly hurt in an accident.
  • You can change or cancel the documents at any time by:
    • Making new ones
    • Getting rid of the existing documents
    • Telling changes to your doctor and each health care agent you named

Hospice Care

End-of-Life Support for you and your family
  • A special way of caring for you when there is no cure for your illness. Or you no longer want medical treatments.
  • It is given in a:
    • a home
    • hospice center
    • hospital
    • nursing home
  • Hospice care helps:
    • you
    • your family members
    • your loved ones
    • caregivers
  • A hospice care team is made up of:
    • nurses
    • social workers
    • care managers
    • physicians
  • Do you have an illness that cannot be cured and your doctor thinks that you have six months or less to live?
  • Has the treatment for your illness become too much for you?
  • Do you wish to have comfort rather than medical treatments?
  • Do you wish to spend your remaining time at home?

If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, ask your doctor about Hospice Care.

  • Hospice care helps to keep you comfortable so you can live well during the time you have left

It can also:

  • Ease your pain and lessen your symptoms
  • Help you to get the medical supplies and equipment you need
  • Give you and your family emotional and spiritual support
  • Help you with documents that give you more control of your life (advanced directives)
  • Reach out to volunteers to help you with chores and errands
  • Make sure your care plan is right for you
  • Call other health care professionals to help you such as:
    • pharmacists
    • dietitians
    • counselors
    • physical therapists

Palliative Care

Special Care for Those with On-Going Illnesses

It is care that helps to:

  • Ease your pain and symptoms when you are very sick
  • Let you live a better quality of life
  • Give your family the support they need when coping with your illness

Would you like:

  • More help to cope with your illness?
  • To feel less pain and suffering?
  • A  better quality of life?
  • Less stress because of your illness?

If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, ask your doctor about Palliative Care.

A doctor and care team made up of:

  • nurses
  • social workers
  • care managers

work with you to:

  • Find ways to make your life as comfortable and as active as you want it to be
  • Help with your pain and other symptoms                            These can include:
    • trouble breathing
    • upset stomach
    • trouble sleeping
    • anxiety or depression
  • Tell you and your family about the choices you can make about your care now and in the future
  • Link you to resources you need
  • Fill out paper work to put in writing the kind of care you want