In many stages of illness, palliative care can ease stress and provide additional support.
Many people and their families associate the term palliative care with the end of life. Some think that palliative care and hospice care are one and the same. Therefore, it is worth explaining that palliative care is a medical specialty that can help people not only in times of pain, but also in different health stages. Importantly, the services offered can help you or your loved one be happier. Better quality of life, Reduce uncomfortable symptoms and avoid unnecessary hospitalization.
such asMedical oncologists (cancer doctors) have seen how important this care can be when people have cancer or other serious illnesses. However, we find that there are not enough people to benefit from this care. By dispelling misconceptions about what palliative care is and who can help, we hope more people will ask for the comprehensive care they deserve and whether a referral to palliative care is right for them.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care generally looks at ways to improve the quality of life for people and their caregivers
- Helping people manage pain, nausea, fatigue and other distressing symptoms associated with illness or treatment, to improve their comfort and ability to work.
- Providing support for depression, anxiety or stress such as finances or relationships that may be affected by a serious illness
- Improve care coordination by communicating with other healthcare providers to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding needs and preferences
- If necessary, explain end-of-life care and provide options (this type of palliative care is part of hospice care).
In many health care settings, palliative care is handled by one or a few health care providers, such as a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. In others, palliative care may be provided by a team of clinicians and social workers, spiritual counselors, and case managers.
People sometimes think of palliative care as a last resort; You may have heard this or thought this way yourself. It may help to know that the type of care we prescribe even in the early stages of serious illnesses like cancer, emphysema, heart failure, and kidney disease is now recognized as medically necessary. When people receive curative or life-prolonging treatments, they can and should receive palliative care.
Who can help with palliative care?
Palliative care can help anyone with a serious medical condition that causes physical or emotional distress.
Typically, this refers to people with life-threatening or chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, neurological disease, or kidney failure. It can also refer to people who have experienced physical illness, emotional distress, or both. So in a sense, these services can be offered to anyone based on their symptoms rather than their specific diagnosis. Palliative care services are also available to support families and carers.
Why is my doctor talking to me about palliative care?
If your doctor recommends palliative care, you may be shocked. However, it is important to understand that the benefits of palliative care are greatest when introduced early after a serious illness, syndrome or injury is diagnosed. In our practice, we like to explain the concept of palliative care shortly after a cancer diagnosis to people who may need additional support.
Our goal is to provide information on resources available to support safety, not to dissuade hope or scare people. The better you feel, the better you will do. Experiencing less pain, nausea, fatigue, or depression makes it easier to tolerate medical treatments and surgeries, which can extend the quality and quantity of life.
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions below.
Why is my doctor talking about palliative care?
In difficult times and to increase support for people suffering from serious illness, not “when there is nothing left”.
am i dying
A transfer to palliative care doesn’t mean you’re dying – it just means you and your family may need extra support to help you live as long and as long as possible.
Are you still my doctor?
yes! Palliative care providers are consultants who work with your doctors, including your primary care doctor and other specialists involved in your care.
Who do I call if I have questions?
If your question is related to a symptom or medication administered by your pain management team, it’s worth contacting them. However, if you have cancer, you can never go wrong by calling the primary doctor who is managing your care, such as your oncologist. Submit your request and they can send you to the right person.
What medications will I have?
Medicines to help you feel better or live longer, including cancer treatment, are available if they are found to be beneficial by you and your doctors.
Should I continue to see my palliative care provider or team?
Just like any other doctor, they are available if they know you will benefit from their services. If you no longer feel that you have needs that they can meet, then you should not continue to receive their care.
Will my family benefit from palliative care?
Yes for sure! One of the primary goals of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for people and their families or caregivers through counseling, information, and coordination of doctor visits and medical tests.