Your liver helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. There are many types of liver diseases including, diseases caused by viruses, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C; diseases caused by drugs, poisons, or too much alcohol such as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis; and Liver cancer.

The Symptoms

Symptoms of liver disease (also called hepatic disease) can vary, but they often include:

  • Swelling of the abdomen and legs
  • Bruising easily
  • Changes in the color of your stool and urine
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes

Sometimes there are no symptoms. Tests such as imaging tests and liver function tests can check for liver damage and help to diagnose liver diseases.

Stages of the Illness

The four stages of liver disease include:

Stage 1

Initial Stage of Liver Disease – inflammation of the liver or bile duct.

Stage 2

Fibrosis of the Liver –  stage 2 damage or scarring from the first stage begins to block the normal blood flow of the liver

Stage 3

Cirrhosis of the Liver – A chronic condition, cirrhosis of the liver creates permanent scarring that blocks the blood flow. This dangerous stage causes other serious conditions and symptoms that increase the severity of the liver disease.

Stage 4

Liver Failure and Advanced Liver Disease – In the final stage of the disease, liver failure signals the end of all normal liver function.

When is it time to contact Capital Caring?

Patients are considered to have end-stage liver disease when they meet the following hospice criteria. If your loved one meets the liver disease hospice eligibility requirements, consider scheduling a hospice consultation with Capital Caring.

  • Weakness and compromised ability perform activities of daily living.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Muscle wasting.
  • May be awaiting liver transplant, but if organ is procured, the patient is no longer eligible.

Benefits of Hospice and Palliative Care at Capital Caring

The goal of hospice care for liver disease patients is to treat pain and other symptoms and relieve the physical and emotional stress to ensure the greatest level of comfort for our patients and their families.

  • Pain Management – Our Hospice Care team provides palliative care which focuses on relieving pain and maintaining comfort.
  • Symptom Control – Our Hospice Care team regularly assesses each patient’s condition and works with the physician to determine the most effective treatment and medication options to maximize symptom control.
  • Hospice Care at Home – The goal of hospice care is to support patients by meeting their needs and managing their care at home –  or wherever they may call home. This means hospice services are provided in a patient’s home, a nursing home, or home of a loved one. Allowing one to stay at their home gives them the ultimate comfort when addressing terminal illnesses.
  • Coordinated Care Approach – Hospice care is a team effort. The patient’s family and loved ones are actively involved along with a team of professionals and volunteers. With the help and support of the hospice care team, the patient and their family receive physical, emotional, and spiritual support.
  • Holistic Approach – Therapy and counseling services add an extra layer of care to the hospice services provided by Capital Caring. Therapy and counseling are non-invasive, holistic practices which help to enhance the medical, social and spiritual care of the hospice team. Therapy and counseling sessions are provided by staff and volunteers of the Capital Caring hospice team.

Visit capitalcaring.org or call 800-869-2136 for more information or to make a referral.