Palliative Care is specialized care focused on the pain, symptoms, and stress of serious illness. It may begin at the time of a diagnosis and continue throughout the course of a serious illness. Palliative care is designed to meet each patient's individual needs with the help of a specialized palliative care team that includes: doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, spiritual advisors and therapists. You can recieve palliative care services at the same time as you recieve treatments for your illness.
The goal of palliative care is to:
- Reduce pain and discomfort
- Improve the quality of your life and your ability to do your daily activities
- Provide emotional support
- Help with long-term planning
The kind of care you get depends on what you need. Your goals guide your care. Palliative care can help reduce pain or treatment side effects. The palliative care team may help you and your loved ones better understand your illness, talk more openly about your feelings, or decide what treatment you want or do not want. It can also make sure your doctors, nurses, and loved ones understand your goals and are "on the same page."
Receiving palliative care does not mean you are giving up. In fact, most patients receiving palliative care are also continuing aggressive medical treatment for their illness. Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life – not just in your body, but also in your mind and spirit.
How do I get started with palliative care?
Anyone can make a referral: you, your doctor, or a concerned loved one.
We cannot change the outcome, but we can affect the journey. Ann Richardson
Frequently Asked Questions:
Palliative care is comprehensive treatment of the symptoms and stress of serious illness. It does not replace your primary treatment; palliative care works together with the primary treatment you're recieving. You do not give up your own doctor in order to get palliative care. The palliative care team works with your doctor. The goal is to prevent and ease the suffering and stress associated with your illness and to improve your quality of life.
The word "palliative" has roots in the Latin verb meaning "to cloak or protect." The members of the palliative care team at Middlesex Health understand the critical decisions patients and families are faced with when dealing with a serious illness. Palliative care can provide the social and spiritual support that assists you in having in-depth communication with your family about your goals, your concerns, and your treatment options. It can also improve communication between you and your healthcare providers.
Live your life more comfortably
Palliative care provides relief from symptoms including:
Get treatments with ease Pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Problems with sleep
- Other symptoms as necessary
Your palliative care team will work together with your healthcare providers to provide pain and symptom control throughout your treatment. As a result, your ability to tolerate medical treatments is increased. Palliative care team members coordinate your care among all of your healthcare providers. They are there for you when you are admitted into the hospital and when you need home care services. Through this coordination, you are able to carry on with daily living. Furthermore, team members provide practical, emotional, and spiritual support to you and your family. Your palliative care team is a 24-hour support across the health care continuum.
You may want to consider palliative care services if you or your loved one:
- Suffer from pain or other symptoms due to any serious illness
- Is diagnosed with a chronic illness such as diabetes, COPD, or heart failure
- Experience illness-related physical and/or emotional pain that is not under control
- Need help understanding the situation and coordinating care
Start palliative care as soon as you need it
You cannot start palliative care too soon. Remember, palliative care occurs at the same time as all of your other treatments for your illness. When you need it, start! There is no reason to wait. Palliative care will help you reduce the symptoms of your illness and manage the side-effects from your treatment. It will also take away the stress of coordinating treatment schedules and other care needs so that you can focus on enjoying the things in life that make it worth living.
You can receive palliative care in your home, the hospital, the doctor’s office, or in assisted living.
- Pain and symptom control
- Learn more about pain management and palliative care
- Complementary therapies like massage, reiki, and acupuncture
- Emotional and spiritual support for patients and families
- Help with navigating the healthcare system
- Education about self-determination and advance directives
- Negotiating end-of-life decisions
- Caregiver support group
Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care. It is handled like any other services such as oncology or cardiology. If you have any concerns about the cost of palliative care, a team member can assist you.