End of Life Care and Delivery in my Community

More often than not, end of life care is associated with individuals as they reach an older age, however, this is not always the case. This type of care, whether it be physical, emotional, social, or spiritual support for patients and their families, can be given to all people, regardless of age, who are near the end of their life and have stopped treatment to cure or control their disease. The ultimate goal of this care is to manage pain and symptoms to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the patient, either through palliative care, supportive care, and/or hospice care.


Palliative vs. Hospice Care

Although some may think palliative care is the same as hospice care, it is not. Instead of replacing the patient’s primary treatment, palliative care works together with the primary treatment being received to develop a strategic plan to benefit the patient. Additionally, it is not limited, therefore, allowing individuals who are ‘upstream’ of a 6-month or less terminal prognosis to receive services aligned with palliative care principles.

While hospice care also focuses on the pain, symptoms, and stress of a serious illness, it does this during the terminal phase of the illness (defined by Medicare as an individual with a life expectancy of 6-months or less if the disease runs its natural course). Hospice care begins after treatment of the disease is stopped and when it is clear that the person is not going to survive the illness.


Resources in Schenectady 

A variety of medical facilities and hospitals around the capital districts, including Schenectady, offer palliative treatment such as Albany Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital (Amsterdam), Ellis Hospital, Glens Falls Hospital, St. Peter’s Hospital, Seton Health/St. Mary’s, and Stratton VA Hospital. The key to choosing the right facility is deciphering which facility will provide the treatment plan that is best tailored to the individual.

Each program has its mission; the palliative care unit at Ellis Medicine in Schenectady works to improve one’s quality of life above all. Within this program, they work with and assist patients and their families deal with pain and symptom management, coordination of care, treatment decision-making, and emotional and spiritual support. Their specialty is dealing with cancer patients through active treatment such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, which is led by their program medical director, George Giokas, M.D. and includes doctors, nurses, case managers, nutrition experts, pharmacists, and pastoral care staff. Through this team, patients can live each day comfortably while still holding out their fight!

For those who have turned their focus from cure to comfort, hospice services would be the next step, however, there are a variety of different forms. Home Instead Senior Care of Schenectady, NY provides around-the-clock companionship and personal care services within their facility, or within an individual’s home. These services include emotional support, housekeeping, reading aloud, grooming and dressing, linen changing, and respite for family caregivers. Rather than treating the residents as patients, they treat them as companions, providing them with happiness and joy.

Similarly, the Joan Nicole Prince Home dedicate themselves to providing a safe, comfortable, caring residence for terminally ill patients in need of a home during their final days, however, does this in an actual home setting, rather than a medical facility. By doing this, residents can feel comfortable, joyous, and at ease throughout their final moments. The Joan Nicole Prince Home is also a non-profit, allowing them to provide care to individuals free of charge.

How Can You Get Involved?

While there are many hospitals in the surrounding areas that accept volunteers in a variety of their programs, the Joan Nicole Prince Home is always accepting volunteers as well! Although they are not a medical facility, the Joan Nicole Prince Home’s main focus is to provide an alternative treatment setting for their residents throughout their time there. Volunteers have the opportunity to provide 24/7 bedside care to residents as well as aiding in cooking, cleaning, yard work, fundraising, and much more! Each volunteer is properly trained with 24/7 support from staff and other volunteers, should they need it. Volunteers ages 18 and older can work one on one with residents, and volunteers ages 15-17 can volunteer with a supervisor. Interested? Contact the Joan Nicole Prince Home!












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