What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness . This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stresses of a serious illness, and supporting communication to help you understand your medical condition, and make the best choices for you. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patients other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment. The palliative care team spends as much time as necessary communicating with both you and your family, and supports you every step of the way.
Close Communication, clarifying your goals
The palliative care team will also spend time talking to you and listening. They will make sure you understand all of your treatment options and choices. By deeply exploring your personal goals, the palliative care team will help you match those goals and options. They will also make sure that all of your doctors are coordinated and know and understand what you want. This gives you more control over your care.
Improves Quality of Life
Palliative care teams specialize in treating people suffering from the symptoms and stress of serious illnesses such as cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more. This type of care treats pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and any other symptoms that may be causing distress, with the goal of helping you to improve your quality of life.
Reference: Get Palliative Care, The Center to Advance Palliative Care, CAPC, What is Palliative Care, viewed November 2018, https://getpalliativecare.org/whatis/
It is your right to determine your own care. Make decisions ahead of time about the care that you would want to received should you become unable to speak for yourself.
Learn more about Advance Directives and Advance Care Planning Resources.