Palliative care is focused solely on quality of life for those with serious illnesses. It can help to ease both symptoms and stress and guide care. This type of care is done in addition to standard care for your illness. Palliative care can be helpful at any stage of your illness.
Your team will be made of doctors and nurses that focus in palliative care. They specialize in ways to ease symptoms. Symptoms may be physical, mental health concerns, or overall wellness such as:
This type of care will help to improve comfort and prioritize your treatments.
Your palliative team will also help you plan your care. They will review your current treatments and talk to you about what your goals are. Be open and honest about what you need and want.
Palliative care may focus on steps to extend life or comfort measures only. Your team will talk to you about any recommended treatments. They will help you understand if the treatment is in line with your goals. Decisions may include:
Devices to help the heart pump or improve circulation
Surgery to repair or improve blood flow to the heart
The palliative team will also make sure the rest of your medical team know your goals. This will include documents like advanced directives.
Support and Communication
Your family will play a large role in support and care. It can be difficult to talk to loved ones about end-of-life care and decisions. Your palliative care team can help to smooth this out. They can also help you discuss decisions like health care proxy. It is important that your proxy is aware of your goals.
The palliative care team can also provide support for caregivers. They can identify challenges and help find resources for them.
Talk to your medical team about palliative care if you have a serious illness. It can be helpful to talk to a palliative care team early in the process. They can let you know what services are available. Having a plan and team in place early may ease stress later on.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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