What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life threatening disease, such as cancer. The goal is to prevent or treat, as early as possible. This includes the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment. In addition consideration should be related to psychological, social, and spiritual problems. The goal is not to cure. Palliative Care is also known as comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
Can palliative care used in cancer care?
Throughout a patient’s experience with terminal cancer, palliative care is also provided. It should begin at diagnosis and continue through treatment, follow-up care, and the end of life.
Who provides this type of caring?
Although any medical professional may provide palliative care by addressing the side effects and emotional issues of cancer, some have a particular focus on this type of care. A care specialist is a health professional who specializes in treating the symptoms, side effects, and emotional problems experienced by patients. The aim is to maintain the best possible quality of life.
Often, these care specialists work as part of a multidisciplinary team to coordinate care. The care team may consist of doctors, nurses, registered dieticians, pharmacists, and social workers. People do not give up their primary care physician to receive palliative care.
If a person accepts palliative care, does it mean they won’t get cancer treatment?
No. In addition to cancer treatment, palliative care is also provided. When a patient reaches a point at which treatment to destroy the cancer is no longer viable, palliative care becomes the focus. This form of care is used to alleviate the symptoms and emotional issues of cancer. Care providers can help ease the transition to end-of-life care.
Where do cancer patients receive care?
Cancer centres and hospitals often have care specialists on their staff. They may also have a care team that monitors and attends to patient and family needs. Cancer centres may also have programs or clinics that address specific care issues, such as pain management or psychosocial issues.
A patient can receive palliative care at home, either under a doctors care or at a hospice, or from a Nursing Agency that offers long-term care.
How do people decide what they need?
Patients and their loved ones should ask their doctor about palliative care. In addition to discussing their needs for symptom relief and emotional support, patients and their families should consider the amount of communication they need. What people want to know about their diagnosis and care varies with each person. It is important for patients to tell their doctor about what they want to know, how much information they want, and when they want to receive it.
Is there research that shows palliative care is beneficial?
Yes. Research shows that this type of care is beneficial to a patient, their health and well-being. Patients who have their symptoms controlled and are able to communicate their emotional needs have a better experience with their medical care. Various studies over the last few years have proven this fact. Their quality of life and physical symptoms do improve overtime.