Palliative Care: It's Not As Scary As It Sounds
Palliative care is one of the most misunderstood types of care. Because of that, many people miss out on the benefits based on the fear that it means they are giving up. The truth is that it's designed to improve the patients quality of life from the point of diagnosis throughout treatment. It is not considered "end of life care" because you can stop receiving care if you recover or no longer need their services. The difference between palliative care and hospice is that hospice care begins when the patient has been given the news that they are not going to survive their disease and should have already concluded treatment.
Palliative care teams specialize in treating people suffering from the symptoms and stress of serious illnesses such as cancer, COPD, CHF, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and many more. Your care plan will treat pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and any other symptoms that may be causing distress. The care team, comprised of doctors and nurses, in conjunction with your own doctors, will help you gain the strength to carry on with daily life. One of the best parts is that you can often choose to receive care in your own home, helping you to feel as normal and comfortable as possible.
Dealing with a serious disease like cancer can be extremely stressful. The idea that you may not make it through is even scarier. The palliative care team is also prepared to help your family through the process. By working in such close communication with your own doctors and your support network you can eliminate some of the stress your family would suffer from by feeling like they are in the dark about your treatment, you prognosis or even how you're doing day to day. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association in 2010, early intervention by palliative care improved quality of life, lessened depression and even lead to longer survival time in many cases.
If you think you or a loved one may benefit from palliative care, contact your doctor. Many doctors will provide you with local options and even advice on which route may work well for you. If you are interested in more information or resources, click on any of the links in our helpful list below.
Denver Palliative Care Resources