Palliative care is comprehensive treatment of discomfort, symptoms and stress of serious illness. It does not replace your primary treatment; palliative care works together with the primary treatment you’re receiving. The goal is to ease suffering and improve your quality of life.
You may want to consider palliative care if you or your loved one:
Suffers from pain or other symptoms due to ANY serious illness
Experiences physical pain or emotional stress that is NOT under control
Needs help understanding your situation and coordinating your care
What can I expect from palliative care?
You can expect to receive attention and treatment options from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, sleeping and emotional difficulty. Palliative care helps you and your family carry on with your daily life. It improves your ability to go through medical treatments. It helps you better understand your condition and your choices for medical care. In short, you can expect the best possible quality of life.
Can I keep my current Health Care Provider?
Patients who are considering palliative care often wonder how it will affect their relationships with their current health care providers. Patients do NOT give up their health care provider in order to get palliative care. The palliative care team and your health care provider work together.
You receive palliative care at the same time that you’re receiving treatments for your illness. Its primary purpose is to help cope by providing options in dealing with symptoms and pain you are experiencing. Palliative care is a central part of treatment for serious or life-threatening illnesses.
If you need palliative care, does that mean you’re dying?
No, receiving palliative care does not necessarily mean you’re dying. The purpose of palliative care is to address distressing symptoms such as pain, breathing difficulties or nausea, among others.
Palliative care can improve your quality of life in a variety of ways. Together with your primary health care provider, your palliative care team combines vigorous pain and symptom control into every part of your treatment. Team members spend as much time with you and your family as it takes to help you fully understand your condition, care options and other needs. They also make sure you experience a smooth transition between the hospital and other services, such as home care or nursing facilities.
This results in well-planned, complete treatment for all of your symptoms throughout your illness – treatment that takes care of you in your present condition and anticipates your future needs.
Working Together as a Team
A team approach to patient-centered care. Palliative care is provided by a team of specialists that may include: