What Is Palliative Care?
When having a loved one that is dealing with a terminal disease, you may come across the option of Palliative care. Palliative care is a type of medical treatment that helps to improve the quality of life for people living with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms, while also offering psychological and emotional support. Unlike curative treatments, which aim to cure or eradicate an illness, palliative care focuses more on alleviating suffering and providing comfort to both patients and their families.
This kind of care can begin at any stage during a person’s illness, even if they are still undergoing treatment. In fact, many people receive this kind of care alongside other forms of medical treatment in order to help manage symptoms. Palliative care teams often include doctors, nurses, social workers as well as counselors who specialize in spiritual and emotional support.
Why Choose Palliative Over Curative?
For many people facing a terminal illness, curative treatments may not be an option due to the severity of the disease or the advanced stage at which it has been detected. In such cases, palliative care offers an alternative solution by focusing on the quality of life instead of the length of life. It helps to manage symptoms, control pain, and improve the quality of life for those who are facing a terminal illness.
Palliative care also enables patients and their families to make informed decisions about end-of-life care. This can be an invaluable factor in terms of peace of mind for the patient and their loved ones, as it allows them to be more actively involved in the decision-making process. Additionally, palliative care is often less expensive than curative treatments due to its holistic approach.
What Makes This A Compassionate Option?
You may be thinking that Palliative care is not a caring way to treat someone who is dealing with a terminal illness. Why are we focusing on the patient not winning the battle against the disease that they are fighting? Palliative care is about more than just the illness, and truly is focused on caring for the patient and their families knowing that the time left needs to be the best quality time possible. Here are five reasons why palliative care can help more than hurt:
1. Provides Comfort and Relief from Pain
Palliative care is designed to improve the quality of life for those with severe illnesses, which includes managing their pain and other symptoms. It helps patients achieve relief from physical discomfort and mental distress, allowing them to live their lives with greater ease.
It does this by providing relief from pain, managing symptoms, and addressing psychological, social, and spiritual needs. This holistic approach to care helps patients live their lives as comfortably as possible while facing the challenges posed by their illness.
At its core, palliative care is about helping people stay in control of their health and medical decisions while reducing anxiety and stress when they are faced with a serious or terminal illness. It gives patients the opportunity to talk openly about how they’re feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually so they can make informed choices regarding their care plan. Palliative care teams are composed of doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals who provide round-the-clock care.
Palliative care helps to manage pain by using both traditional methods such as medication and non-traditional approaches like massage therapy, acupuncture, music therapy, or guided imagery. It also focuses on providing emotional and spiritual support for the patient and their family members. By helping patients cope with physical pain and distress while addressing their psychological needs, palliative care can help improve the quality of life for those living with serious illnesses.
2. Offers Comprehensive Support Services
The holistic services offered through palliative care go beyond treatable medical conditions. This type of care encourages physicians to be more attentive to their patients’ overall health by taking into account all aspects of an individual’s life—including mental and emotional well-being. As such, palliative care providers strive to create an atmosphere that offers both physical and emotional relief from the stresses associated with serious illness.
In addition to providing medical services, palliative care can also involve spiritual guidance, emotional support, nutrition counseling, and social work assistance. Through these types of interventions, physicians are able to help patients find meaning and purpose in their lives despite the challenges posed by their illnesses. Furthermore, this type of care helps preserve a patient’s dignity by allowing them to remain surrounded by people who understand and truly care for them.
3. Gives Patients a Voice
Palliative care works to empower patients and their families by allowing them to have a say in their own healthcare decisions. The palliative care team helps guide patients and families through difficult conversations about life-limiting illnesses and end-of-life options. They provide compassionate support for the emotional weight of such decisions as well as practical advice on legal matters, living wills, and advance directives.
At its core, palliative care is about giving patients a voice in their own healthcare journeys. It recognizes that each patient’s experience is unique and seeks to provide comfort and support throughout the process. By enabling meaningful conversations between providers, patients, and their families, palliative care helps ensure that each person’s wishes are respected and honored.
4. Encourages Emotional Well-Being
Palliative care helps those living with life-limiting illnesses cope in more ways than just the physical. While it is well known that palliative care focuses on improving quality of life by minimizing or eliminating pain, there are psychological and emotional components as well. This can include providing support for family members through individual counseling or group therapy, assistance with decision-making when considering end-of-life choices, and helping to manage stress levels and depression.
Palliative care providers can help individuals cope with the emotional impact of their diagnosis by providing them with compassionate care that allows them to express their feelings in a safe environment. This includes facilitating communication between family members, helping them process grief and loss, encouraging emotional expression through art therapy or music therapy, and providing support for end-of-life decisions.
5. Improves Quality of Life
One way palliative care can help restore normalcy for patients is by addressing physical symptoms. Not only does it provide relief from serious symptoms like pain, nausea, and depression, but also simple things like fatigue or lack of appetite. By managing these physical signs, palliative care allows patients to return to performing daily activities they had done prior to their diagnosis. For example, if the patient was an avid gardener before their diagnosis, receiving palliative care may help them get back to doing what they love. Palliative care provides opportunities for patients to be involved in meaningful activities. In addition to providing relief from symptoms, palliative care teams can incorporate activities in their treatment plans that bring patients joy and help them connect with the world around them. These could be anything from simple activities like playing cards or listening to music to more involved events such as attending a theatre performance or taking a trip out of town.
Palliative Care Shows Compassion
In essence, palliative care can be a better option for those suffering from serious illnesses. It is important to recognize this option and the benefits it can bring to those who may not wish to pursue aggressive treatments. Palliative care allows for quality of life, improved comfort, and dignity during treatment. Furthermore, there are many options within palliative care that can provide tailored support depending on individual needs. Ultimately, these services offer individuals an alternative choice for managing their illness and give them back some control over their lives. Thus, palliative care should be seriously considered by those with serious medical conditions or terminal illnesses as it provides compassionate care and support during difficult times.