What Is Palliative Care And How Do I Know If It Is Right For My Loved One Or Me?
Palliative care is a specialized type of medical care for individuals with a serious illness. Meant to improve the quality of life for the patient and the patient’s family, palliative care works to provide relief from the symptoms and stress that comes with such sicknesses.
A team of doctors, nurses, and specialists that have been specially trained for this purpose undertakes palliative care services. This team works with the patient’s regular doctors and family in order to provide comprehensive care and treatment. Palliative care differs from hospice care because it is available for a patient of any age and at any point in their serious illness. It can also coincide with treatments.
Palliative care can help improve the patient’s quality of life, especially if they are suffering from serious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and more. Your medical team will work to help relieve your symptoms and feelings of distress by helping you better understand your disease and your specific diagnosis. They will also help outline your treatment goals and all of the options available to you. In addition to providing care and treatment by coordinating with your other doctors, they will provide understanding, support, and advice regarding further medical decisions.
Entering palliative care if you have a serious illness will mean that you will have a dedicated team of professionals to help you cope and treat your symptoms, such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and loss of appetite. This, in turn, will help you to live your daily life. The ultimate goal of palliative care is to make you as comfortable as possible and achieve the best quality of life possible.
Many have concerns entering palliative care as they may see it as ‘giving up on life’. However, this is not true. Palliative care can coincide with treatments that may either cure you or manage your illness and palliative care makes it easier to deal with aggressive treatments. Palliative care may be right for you if you have a serious illness that has resulted in multiple visits to the hospital or emergency room within the past year.
Receiving palliative care does not necessarily mean that you are dying. While this type of care does serve those with life-threatening or terminal illnesses, there are other patients who are able to receive treatment and are cured and no longer need palliative care. Other patients move in and out of palliative care according to their needs. If you feel that palliative care may be an option for you, discuss with your doctor about next steps.