What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care provides support for patients facing debilitating chronic diseases and life-threatening illnesses. It’s an important part of the patient-focused care that our team provides.
The goal of palliative care is to relieve a patient’s suffering to provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.
A patient's quality of life can be improved by relieving symptoms that might include pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety, their quality of life can be improved.
Palliative care is used in conjunction with the physician’s plan of care, not in place of it. It can be an extra layer of support to address the needs of the patient. Palliative care can be used for any stage of a serious illness. It can also be provided along with curative treatment.
Benefits of Palliative Care
The proven benefits of palliative care show that it can, in many cases, improve a patient’s quality of life. Our goal is to help manage a patient’s side effects, reduce their anxiety and depression, and provide effective pain control.
Pain control can include the use of pain medication as well as recommendations for complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture, reiki and more.
Achieving this goal can help patients remain independent, live a full life, and stay as active as possible while fighting their illness. This may also help to increase life expectancy.
Palliative care provides emotional support to patients and their families when they are faced with difficult decisions about the goals of care and complex treatment choices. It has been shown to decrease emergency room visits, hospital admissions and readmissions, by keeping patients in their homes where they are most comfortable, for as long as possible.
A palliative care practitioner can spend time with patients to understand their goals and help them understand their treatment choices. Palliative care practitioners can communicate to a patient’s doctors, making sure everyone on the team understands what a patient wants. Giving patients more control over their healthcare can also improve their quality of life.
As part of our team approach to care, our patients can receive this specialized service at all stages of their illness, while they are receiving their treatments at our offices, and during follow-up care. Palliative care practitioners are highly experienced in assisting patients with pain and symptom relief, as well as understanding and coordinating patients’ care.
Nobody goes through cancer alone.
Cancer is an illness that not only affects a patient who is fighting the disease, but their family as well. Palliative care helps them all to identify and understand what the patient’s wishes are and what the goals are for their care. Help is also available with navigating the sometimes-difficult conversations about advance care planning and the importance of having advance directives to help guide caregivers in honoring the patient’s wishes during treatment and at the end of life.
Is Palliative Care the same as Hospice?
Palliative Care is different than hospice care. It can be offered at any stage of any illness, while hospice care is used during the last stages of life for patients who are ready to discontinue life-prolonging or curative treatments.