Home-based palliative care: extra support for patients with serious illness

Bethany Berkowitz, Director of Palliative Care and Transitions

“Palliative care is all about quality of life,” explains Director of Palliative Care Bethany Berkowitz, RN, BSN, PHN. “We really want to get to know people and their personal goals and then help them reach those. We tailor our care to focus on what matters most to each person.”

Many people with serious illness such as cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurological disorders are ineligible for hospice care because they are continuing curative treatment. Others simply aren’t emotionally ready for hospice.

Our home-based palliative care program offers these people an extra level of support aimed at helping them re-engage in the activities they enjoy.

Just as in hospice care, our palliative care team collaborates with each patient’s primary care physician to support the entire family. Bethany says her team helps people explore and understand what treatment options mean so they can make informed decisions.

We offer help managing pain and symptoms, emotional and practical support, unbiased spiritual support for people of all faith backgrounds, and volunteer companionship and respite. Each person’s care plan is individualized to focus on their goals.

They can continue to visit their own physicians, specialists, and hospitals. Our team collaborates with all these providers to help patients have what Bethany describes as “the best possible life for as long as possible.” 

And our palliative care team makes home visits for patients who cannot – or don’t want to – go into their doctor’s office or go into the hospital. Nursing support is also available 24/7 by phone. 

Insurance coverage, copays and deductibles vary by plan; donations from the community help us to serve people regardless of their medical coverage or ability to pay.

Bethany stresses that this program is not just for homebound patients. With a physician’s referral, she says, “palliative care is available to anyone with a life-limiting illness or chronic disease who is struggling to achieve the quality of life they want.”

“We are here for you.”