Palliative Care is field in health care that focuses on the quality of life for patients and their families who are dealing with chronic diseases. These diseases can include congestive heart failure, chronic pulmonary disease and cancer. Palliative Care is given at the same time patients receive treatment of their disease. Palliative Care can help with the patient’s physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual needs.
Why Palliative Care?
Palliative Care cares for the whole person by providing patient centered and family-oriented care. It works to help patients and their families better understand their disease, as well as procedure and treatment options and think about health care needs now and in the future.
It also helps to relieve symptoms that often are present for patients with these types of illnesses such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping.
The goal of Palliative Care is to help patients experience the best quality of life and to support the people that care for them.
Who Provides Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with the patient, their family and the patient’s primary physician to provide an extra layer of support to traditional medical care. That extra layer of support helps ensure patients and their families receive:
- information on the illness
- management of pain, symptoms and the stress of illness
- clarification of care goals
- completion of advanced directives
- support for their psychosocial and spiritual needs
- coordinated care with other community resources, across all settings including home, hospital and nursing home
Who Benefits from Palliative Care?
Patients and families who:
- need help making health care decisions
- need help deciding their goals of care
- have psychosocial or spiritual issues
- have pain or symptoms that are affecting their quality of life
- make frequent visits to the emergency room or have several hospital stays
- have had a long stay in the hospital