Mercy Health System

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Mercy Palliative Care Program

Comforting care for life’s health challenges

Whether a person has just been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, is in active treatment, has completed therapy or is near the end of life, the Mercy Palliative Care Program can provide the compassionate, coordinated care that you and your loved ones deserve.

What is palliative care?
Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients who are faced with a progressive, chronic illness. When it comes to quality of life, each patient and their family has their own vision of what this means to them. Based on the patient and family’s unique goals and values, a care plan is developed and the team works together to address the patient's physical, emotional and spiritual needs in conjunction with all other forms of appropriate medical treatment. The goal is to provide relief from pain and manage various symptoms including:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Constipation/diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Studies have shown that patients who receive palliative care as part of their overall medical treatment have significantly lower pain and discomfort.  

Mercy Palliative Care Program vs. Mercy Hospice Care

The Mercy Palliative Care Program can be offered as an early intervention, along with life-prolonging therapies, during the course of an illness. Patients can receive palliative care while still pursuing curative or life-prolonging medical treatment.

Mercy Hospice Care focuses primarily on comfort care in place of curative treatments. It is appropriate for patients with a terminal illness, who have a life expectancy of six months or less, or patients who are ready to discontinue life-prolonging therapies.

The Mercy Palliative Care Program team
In the treatment of illnesses, it is common to have several different doctors treating separate conditions. A palliative care doctor often acts as the conductor, orchestrating the care between several specialists to produce care that is appropriately coordinated. The palliative care team may include:

  • Palliative care physicians
  • Palliative care nurses/nurse practioners
  • Trained resource nurses
  • Nursing assistants or home health aides
  • Social workers
  • Chaplains
  • Discharge planners
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Pharmacists

All team members have expertise in treating pain and complex symptoms. We are here to help coordinate family meetings, discuss goals of care, advanced directives and facilitate transitions to hospice or other appropriate care settings.

Palliative care is an option for all patients, regardless of age, who may be suffering from a serious illness or facing complex medical decisions. The Mercy Palliative Care Program may be especially helpful if you or a loved one:

  • Have cancer, heart disease, liver, lung, kidney problems and/or dementia
  • Are seriously ill and facing questions about the future
  • Have difficult medical decisions to make and want help thinking them through

Care setting
The Mercy Palliative Care Program is available to patients at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville, to patients at home via Mercy Home Health Care or Mercy Hospice Care and in a clinic setting through the Mercy Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic at the Mercy Health Mall in Janesville.

Referral information
If you are interested in being referred to the Mercy Palliative Care Program, we encourage you to talk to your physician. An assessment will be performed to determine eligibility and your primary doctor will aide in making the final decision.

For more information about the Mercy Palliative Care Program, please call (608) 741-2430.