Palliative care is focused on quality of life
Palliative (PAL-ee-uh-tiv) care is medical care that’s designed for people with serious health conditions. It’s focused on relieving pain, stress, and other disease symptoms.
Palliative care’s #1 goal is to improve quality of life for patients and family.
We explain how it’s different from hospice care, how seniors and caregivers benefit, what health conditions it’s often used for, and where to find a palliative care doctor.
Palliative care vs hospice care: they’re not the same!
Palliative care is often confused with hospice care – but they’re different. Palliative care is used during any stage of a serious illness.
Hospice care is for patients who are ill enough for a doctor to certify that they may not live beyond 6 months. (Hospice isn’t a death sentence though, get the facts here.)
Palliative care benefits for seniors
Older adults are often dealing with a variety of aches, pains, and discomforts in addition to a serious health condition.
Much of that is likely caused by medical issues, but advanced age can also make symptoms worse. On top of that, medical treatments to cure or reverse the condition can affect older bodies more harshly and are more likely to cause significant side effects.
Palliative doctors are specialists with extra training and experience in pain management and symptom control. They help seniors and family caregivers cope with the side effects of medical treatments, fears, and caregiver stress. Yes, you read that right – they even help caregivers manage their stress!
Another significant benefit of palliative care is that these doctors can help families make difficult medical decisions. They’ll take the time to discuss pros and cons of various treatment options, answer questions, and address concerns. Without that expert guidance, making those medical decisions can take stress and anxiety to a new level.
What symptoms does palliative care relieve?
By relieving symptoms, palliative care often improves someone’s ability to tolerate medical treatments and their ability to recover. It also gives seniors and caregivers more control because they’ll have a better understanding of treatment choices.
Palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms like:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
What types of illnesses is palliative care used for?
Palliative care is helpful for people with any serious or chronic illness.
Common conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Kidney failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Severe arthritis
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Burlington County Times