House of Loreto Palliative Care – a New Approach

One of the reasons for building the Motherhouse was to free space in the House of Loreto in order to expand our mission into palliative care.  We propose to provide palliative care through an entire illness —  up to and including end of life —  for adults with chronic conditions which are beyond the capacity of family members at home and which are also outside the parameters of acute in-hospital care.

A unique concept.

Discussions with local physicians and health providers have indicated a great need in our community for palliative care in other than home care or hospital settings.  Recently, with Rep. Kirk Schuring’s guidance and support, we appealed to the Ohio Legislature, which passed Ohio Sub. H.B. 470 (effective March 21, 2017).  This bill permits a non-profit, non-Medicare/Medicaid nursing home such as House of Loreto to care for up to 20 palliative care patients without the usual certificate of need required of any nursing home.   This effectively recognizes our plan for the separate discipline it is.

In the context of this legislation, we are moving to establish a palliative care “residence” for fifteen adult patients who would be housed in Regis Hall of the House of Loreto.  This palliative care “home” will be a separate area with its own staff.  In this setting we can provide for patients who are unable to manage at home by giving compassionate and cost-effective care for whatever period of time needed.

The realities of health care at this time indicate a need for a new perspective.  We believe our plan will alleviate many of the problems encountered in both home and hospital-based healthcare for those with chronic illness and their caretakers.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is medical care focusing on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and stresses of serious illness regardless of the longevity prognosis.  Patients who need palliative care and their families require specialized care unique to their particular condition.

The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the medically complex patient and his/her family.  Both patient’s desires/needs and better clinical outcomes are successful with facility-based palliative care models.

Unlike those receiving hospice care under strict federal guidelines, patients under palliative care may continue to receive a range of services with and through experienced palliative care providers, even aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, extended counseling, complex pain management as they experience symptoms that result from chronic disease processes or from treatments provided, and nutritional counseling.

Attributes of Palliative Care

To the extent determined by the patient

  • Life-sustaining measures and treatments
  • Life-enhancing measures such as pain relief, treatment for insomnia,
    depression/anxiety, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc.
  • Interdisciplinary coordination and team-driven continuity of care.
  • Models that recognize and are prepared for the episodic and long-term nature of disease   processes.
  • Continued care, including end of life care when/if the time comes, with no transitioning
    to hospice.
  • Timely information from medical providers and support with difficult decisions.
  • Time-intensive and frequent discussions with medical teams.
  • Reduction of medical redundancy through better coordination.
  • Enhanced support for patients and family members.
  • Modified living environment/accommodations.
  • 24/7 care.
  • Continuation of wrap-around services such as physical, speech, hydro-, and occupational therapies, and psychosocial support.
  • Reduced unnecessary hospitalizations.
  • Reduced costly and unnecessary medical treatments.