What is Palliative Care?

There are many defining moments in life like birth, marriage and death. When diagnosed with a illness that is potentially life threatening, you are likely going to become up close and personal with your own mortality.

Medical treatment and care will become one of the mainstays in your daily life. At the same time, you want to live out your days as normal as possible and for as long as possible. With palliative care, you can achieve this.

Like Hospice Care

Palliative care is similar to hospice care except that while you may have a life threatening illness, it is not yet terminal and you are not expected to die within six months, unlike the people in hospice care.

Palliative care focuses on boosting your quality of life as well as that of your family during this health crisis. Level of comfort is the main goal and this is achieved by trying to prevent and treat your pain.

This type of care is all-inclusive meaning that not only your physical needs are met but also your spiritual and emotional needs as well. Palliative care focuses on the whole self and helps alleviate such symptoms as loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue and general malaise and even shortness of breath. Alleviating these symptoms is the goal so that you can have a somewhat normal life and routine for as long as possible.

Where Palliative Care is Administered

There are several settings in which palliative care can be administered. It can take place in a hospital setting, particularly when other treatment therapies are taking place like radiation or chemotherapy.

A convalescent home or assisted care facility is other places where palliative care can be administered. Your own residence, especially if you are receiving home health care is another place where this care can be implemented.

It doesn’t matter where palliative care is conducted as the goals are the same. A social worker, your doctor or even an assigned hospital case manager will work with you in determining what type of care you need as well as the process.

The Palliative Care Team

There are typically several individuals who are responsible for your palliative care needs. However only one person, like your primary care doctor coordinates everything for easier manageability. People with life threatening illness often need more than one type of specialist to coordinate care.

If you are a diabetic with a heart condition and you have cancer, you may need three different doctors like a cardiologist for your heart, an endocrinologist for the diabetes and a doctor for your cancer treatments.

There is really a team of professionals that look out for all your palliative care needs both health and spiritual-wise like:

  • Specialists like the examples listed above
  • Nurses
  • Therapists for a variety of needs like speech and physicality
  • Ministers
  • Home health workers and nurses

All the efforts combined from this palliative care team help in creating a treatment plan that covers all of your needs. As your health condition changes, so will your team conducting your palliative care needs.