At the VNA, advanced illness management has two components:
- First, nurse practitioners oversee the care of patients with advanced illness. The nurse practitioners teach home health nurses how to help patients manage their symptoms and engage patients in discussions about what matters most to them as they face serious illness.
- Then, for patients with complex medical needs, the program extends palliative care into the community, providing nurse practitioner house calls to patients whose general health and function has declined as a result of one or more serious illnesses. Nurse practitioners enhance communication with the primary care provider, and can assess and treat patients in the home.
The goal is to help people understand their options when facing a serious illness and give them the opportunity to receive the type of care they want at home, with the hospital or nursing home as a last option.