Palliative Care Information
Deciding to put a loved one in palliative care can be a tough and stressful situation. Palliative care is for people with a chronic illness who can continue to receive curative treatments. Palliative care can be received in a care home, at home or in a hospital. Palliative care can be confused with hospice care which is where terminal ill people decide to forgo all curative treatments.
PALLIATIVE CARE IS......provided by a team of medical professionals and care providers. Their aim is to control the suffering and to improve the quality of life, to assist with the decision-making and increasing function.
One of the reasons why there is a team approach is because it addresses not only the pain of an illness, but everything that goes along with it. The emotional wear and tear, mental concerns (finances, family, etc) and family discord.
PEOPLE CHOOSE PALLIATIVE CARE BECAUSE.......palliative care reduces high levels of suffering and distress among patients with serious illness, at any stage of the disease. It can be beneficial to patients who:
- have terminal cancer
- need full time care that cannot be provided by family
- have emotional distress
- are undergoing pulmonary care or have chronic, progressive pulmonary disorders
- progressive neurological disorders
- kidney failure
- constant infections
- history of constant and consistent hospitalizations
- wounds are not healing or are receiving wound care
PALLIATIVE CARE IS ALSO BENEFICIAL TO CAREGIVERS, AND PATIENTS BECAUSE.......
- palliative care professionals can help navigate the healthcare system and assist in starting up an advanced care directive (see previous blog on advanced care directive in blogs)
- reducing high levels of suffering and distress among patients with serious illness, at any age and any stage of disease will make the journey easier for the patient(s)
- improving communication among patients, families, and health care practitioners helps to ensure everyone is on the same page
- needs of the family caregivers should be addressed as they cope and care for the person with the illness
- developing a support system is crucial at this stage of life to make sure everything is in place and needs are being met
It is not easy to care for someone with an illness. Just as important as it is to take care of the patient, it is important for the family caregivers to take care of themselves as well. Make sure your loved one and yourself have a great support system and know who to reach out to. Always ensure that the patient has their advanced care directive and you know their wishes for after.