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Palliative care offered by Hospice of Kitsap County

Palliative care, offered through Hospice of Kitsap County (HKC) since March, lends support to those with serious illnesses.

Though offered through a hospice care center, palliative care is for anyone with a diagnosis of a serious degree, even if that person has not given up on curative treatment, said Tammy White of HKC.

White, a Triage and Palliative Care Nurse, explained that the program supports who have trouble with the day to day events that require them to leave the house alone. The palliative care team assists them with tasks that require them to leave the house, particularly when they need to go to the hospital for various reasons.

"Any intense ongoing pain that they might experience on a day-to-day basis, our doctors will go out to them instead of them having to come to us," White said.

Dr. Patricia Borman, medical director of the palliative care program, said "the focus is very individualized" and that the palliative team works with each family to set and reach the individual goals of the patient.

Since palliative care became approved in 2008 by the American Board of Medical Specialties, there have been links between palliative and hospice care, but the two are two very different specialties.

According to White, hospice patients are usually those who have been diagnosed with six months or less left to live.

"Their main goal is to maintain comfort and quality of life," she said. "While palliative, they maintain comfort and quality of life, but they're still seeking curative treatment."

Most of their support goes to helping patients manage their pain and fulfill everyday tasks they have trouble with. But support for the family is also available.

"Anything they need, whether it be spiritual or guidance, we seek to provide that," said White.

Through HKC, the palliative program offers support groups, counseling and education to anyone in the community, not just those with loved ones in hospice or palliative care.

Borman said that they look for resources from a patient's community to help them and their families.

The hospice care center, the only one of it's kind in Kitsap County, is a not-for-profit, Medicare certified group that was founded and still run by a voluntary board.

There are 75 employees and more than 100 volunteers, according to their website, and they are supported by donations, grants, memorial gifts and annual fundraising events.

For more information, visit www.HospiceKC.org.

 

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