Palliative care is a layer of support for individuals with a serious, complicated, and/or chronic condition. It focuses on providing symptom relief, psychosocial and spiritual support, optimization of quality of life, and advanced care planning for patients and their families. Palliative care can be offered at any stage of a patient’s illness.
Under the leadership of Medical Director Satya Chelamkuri, MD, and Manager Channin Daugherty, NP, the palliative care team at El Camino Hospital works to provide personalized and compassionate care to meet the diverse needs of patients and their families. The clinicians work to understand what stage of illness patients are in, care for them as they want to be cared for, and help alleviate their symptoms so they can live their lives, however long, as they desire. The goal of this care regimen is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family based on their wants and desires.
Our experienced team listens to patients’ hopes and dreams and how the illness has impacted their lives and the lives of their families. They work accordingly with each of their patients to discuss care options and develop a personalized plan.
“I feel blessed that I can spend time connecting with a patient to help them through their journey. It’s important to understand how each individual wants to be cared for.” says Channin. “With this knowledge, we are able to collaborate with the patient’s primary care team and align the care with his/her goals.”
In addition to working with primary care providers, the palliative care team collaborates with other hospital departments to consult about issues and wholly support the patient during their hospital stay. All the care teams work together to help patients better understand their condition and navigate through care options and treatments that are best for their needs.
“We recognize that there is much more to a person’s history than their condition and that we are not seeing them in their normal state,” explains Channin. “The interactions we have with patients while they are in the hospital are just a snapshot of their lives.”
An invaluable component of palliative care is advanced care planning. The documentation of the patient’s “voice” and identification of a surrogate decision maker empowers patients so they can be in control of their healthcare decisions. While these are difficult conversations for anyone, for individuals with a chronic condition this information provides direction for their surrogate decision maker in the case that they can no longer make their needs known. Being able to advocate for a loved one when their chronic condition becomes life-limiting is an important part of ensuring that the patient’s wishes are respected and that they can be as pain free as possible.
Learn more about how El Camino Hospital’s Palliative Care Program aligns care for each individual patient so they can live their fullest life regardless of their condition.