For Physicians

Provider’s Guide to Palliative Consult Services

The Willis-Knighton Palliative Consult Services team is a resource for you as you support patients who face advanced, progressive and/or chronic illnesses. We recognize the time constraints often imposed on you, making the lengthy and numerous conversations required by patients facing a serious illness, a challenge. We are an extension of your kindness and compassion.

As the physician, you are the team leader. We serve in a consultative role only, assisting you with any emotional, physical, psychosocial or spiritual issues your patient and their caregivers may be experiencing. Our team specializes in helping patients and their caregivers consider short- and long-term goals and planning for future care.

Criteria for Palliative Consult Services:

  • Serious illness (cancer, CHF, COPD or other chronic lung disease, kidney failure, liver failure, dementia/Alzheimer's, stroke, heart disease, ALS, MS, or similar conditions)
  • Recurrent symptoms (pain, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, depression, or other symptoms associated with their disease processes) 
  • Eating or energy level changes associated with advanced illness 
  • Frequent visits to physician's office or Emergency Room 
  • Multiple hospital admissions, three or more, within the last 12 months 
  • A turning point in the illness where treatment is no longer working 
  • Patient and/or caregivers need help with future planning, decision making, emotional support or is experiencing spiritual or religious distress 
  • Patient and/or caregivers desire "comfort care" or wishes to discuss end-of-life issues

What We Are: 

  • Serves caregivers and patients with progressive, advanced and/or chronic illnesses
  • Supports physicians and their concerns about emotional, psychosocial, spiritual and/or physical issues facing their patients and the patients’ caregivers 
  • Focuses on improving comfort, quality of life and providing support for patient and their caregivers 
  • Consists of initial consultation and assessment, assistance and guidance, collaboration with other disciplines, and recommendations for physician's review 
  • Provided in the hospital, home, nursing home or physician's office 
  • Suitable at any time during the disease process and is particularly helpful when initiated early 

What We Are Not:

  • Hospice. Palliative care is available at any time during an illness. Studies show that beginning discussions about palliative care at diagnosis significantly improved the patients’ and caregivers’ satisfaction, eased pain and other symptoms, and increased appetite.
  • Disease-Focused. Palliative care is focused on the "whole person" and their caregivers, not just the disease. 
  • Related to curative treatment. Palliative care is unrelated to or affected by any curative or life-prolonging treatments you order for your patients. It is appropriate at any age and any stage in a serious illness and should be provided alongside curative treatment. 
  • Taking away hope. This is simply about helping patients and their caregivers feel better as they deal with their illness. 
  • A substitute for your advice. We work with you, helping seriously ill patients get the complex information and support that is often difficult for a physician to offer within the framework of a busy practice schedule.

Request a Consult

This is ordered like any other service. A written referral for consult is required. We operate from a centrally-located office at the new WK Innovation Center, so that we can easily serve patients throughout the community.

(318) 212-2596
(318) 212-2541 (Fax)