Palliative care is the comprehensive management of patients’ physical, psychological, social, spiritual and existential needs. It is especially suited to the care of people with progressive illnesses, mostly incurable.

With Bridges, an interdisciplinary team directs and provides care. Core team members are the patient and the family, plus a physician, nurse, social worker, spiritual care, caregivers and therapists. The team develops a plan of care to provide coordinated care that emphasizes support services.

Eligibility

Recognizing that it is often difficult to estimate life expectancy, referral guidelines are relaxed. As a general rule, palliative care patients are typically accepted with a prognosis of 12 months or less to live.

Model

The Bridges Palliative Care Program [BPCP] is defined by core features that work together in a particular way to achieve certain outcomes; among them, high patient and family satisfaction and cost-effective care.

In addition to advanced care planning, comprehensive care is provided to manage underlying conditions in order to prevent exacerbation.

The BPCP is modeled after Bridges’ hospice program in that it targets seriously ill patients near the end of life and offers them superb pain management and other symptom control in the comfort of their own home; wherever they may call home.

Goals:

  • Respect and support patient preferences
  • Improve pain and symptom control
  • Prevent unnecessary ER visits
  • Educate and assist with Advance Directives
  • Increase patient and family satisfaction

Notes:

  • Telephone support is available 24/7
  • Patients do not have to forego curative care
  • Bereavement services are provided if applicable
  • Physicians are not required to give a 6 month prognosis, as in hospice.