Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. The goal of palliative care services is to help the patient fight the illness, relieve suffering and provide the best quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care services are provided by a specially-trained team of physicians, nurses, and other specialists who work together with the patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support to address the needs of the patient and their family. Palliative care services include:
- Preventing and relieving pain and discomfort
- Clarify treatment goals and options
- Managing medications
- Managing symptoms, including psychosocial and spiritual symptoms
- Assist with making medical decisions
When a patient is near the end of life, palliative care focuses on helping that patient achieve the highest possible quality of life and help them control any physical and mental symptoms. Not only does palliative care offer many benefits to the patient, but it also can benefit the entire family.
A randomized clinical trial found that “introducing palliative care shortly after a cancer diagnosis results in better quality of life and fewer depression symptoms for family caregivers.” Having a sick loved one in the home can cause stress and strain to family members. However, when that loved one is at ease and comfortable due to palliative care, it allows family members to unwind and catch their breath.
Offers support to the family
Palliative care not only offers support to the patient, but also to the family members. Recent research suggests that “family caregivers focused on needs related to providing care including to become a palliative caregiver, be skilled and know more, navigate competing wishes, needs, demands, and priorities.” These findings suggest that supporting family members will most likely be successful when framed in relation to their caregiving role.
Helps the family understand treatment plans
Treatment of chronic illness comes in many forms, so it is important that the patient and family understand which treatment choice will match with their goals. Palliative care helps the individual and their families understand all possible treatment options and makes sure that all of the doctors involved know and understand what the patient wants.
If you or a loved one are dealing with a chronic, potentially-terminal condition, contact Pallatus Health today to see if our integrative approach to palliative care can help you along the journey.