LIVING with Serious Illness - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
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William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

 

LIVING with Serious Illness

Madison Palliative Care staff sitting in VA Hospice care room.  From R to L: Chaplain Frank Reynolds, nurse Marlene Johnson, social worker Sheila Schroedl, and physician, Dr. Wendy Adams.  Missing from photo is Dr. Matt Loconte and social worker Meghann Krueger.

Madison Palliative Care staff sitting in VA Hospice care room. From R to L: Chaplain Frank Reynolds, nurse Marlene Johnson, social worker Sheila Schroedl, and physician, Dr. Wendy Adams. Missing from photo is Dr. Matt Loconte and social worker Meghann Krueger.

By Sheila Schroedl, LCSW, Social Worker/Palliative Care Coordinator
Monday, November 28, 2011

Many Americans may be surprised to learn that one in every four death in the United States is a Veteran.  That’s 1,800 people a day; more than 680,000 Veterans every year.  To help care for Veterans diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, the Madison VA Hospital established a Palliative Care Consult Team in 2003.   Palliative care (pronounced: pal-lee-uh-tive) is a type of care provided by an interdisciplinary team including physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and mental health providers help Veterans and their families live as fully as possible when faced with a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life through relief of suffering, control of symptoms and restoration of functional capacity while remaining sensitive to personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices.  Palliative care services can be provided at any point of a serious illness and can be offered along with curative treatments.

The Madison VA provides inpatient palliative care services to Veterans hospitalized at VA Madison Hospital and in the outpatient clinic.

Palliative Care Services Provided at the Madison VA:

Inpatient Consultation:

  • Assistance with complex medical decisions
  • Assistance with complex pain and symptom management
  • Establish a Veteran-centered plan of care
  • Provide emotional and spiritual support
  • Discharge planning

Outpatient Clinic:

  • Ongoing management of complex pain and other symptoms related to the life-limiting condition
  • Timely information about how to best plan for future care needs
  • Assistance in locating and arranging services as care needs change
  • Ongoing psychosocial and emotional support

Hospice is a mode of palliative care, provided to Veterans with a known terminal condition, with a prognosis less than 6 months, and who desire therapies with a palliative intent for the terminal condition.  Veterans can receive hospice services in their home, in an inpatient VA hospice unit, and in community Nursing Homes.  The Madison VA will be opening an inpatient hospice unit located in the Community Living Center in early 2012.

If you have questions, or would like more information about the Madison VA Palliative Care  or Hospice programs, please contact Sheila Schroedl, LCSW, Palliative Care Program Coordinator (608)256-1901 x11579 or (608)280-7085.

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