When you or your loved one is coping with a serious, medical illness, it can be an overwhelming experience… palliative care services can help.
In the midst of receiving treatments, suffering difficult symptoms, learning about the illness, and coordinating care, it is common for patients to feel as if their entire lives are taken over by the medical condition. Family members and other caregivers are impacted by increased demands for their time and are often overwhelmed with concern for their loved one.
Palliative care provides support for patients and families during this difficult time. By focusing on relief from the symptoms and stresses of a serious illness, no matter the diagnosis, palliative care services support patients of any age and at any stage of illness. It’s important to know that palliative care can be provided along with treatment aimed to cure.
What is palliative care?
Palliative (pal-lee-uh-tiv) care is person-centered care – you and your family are at the center of all we do. We work to relieve (or prevent) suffering in all forms with a goal to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care is consistent with Catholic social teaching and reflects the healing ministry of Jesus. The work of palliative care affirms life while recognizing that dying is part of the life cycle.
Palliative care services are helpful in most areas of a patient’s life, as well as their family situation. Consider the following examples:
- Physical impact of illness. Many patients with serious illness will have symptoms that cause distress. Palliative care experts help with the management of pain, relieving shortness of breath, managing fatigue, changes to appetite or sleep, and other symptoms.
- Social impact of illness. Maintaining strong social connections is important to patients and families when coping with serious illness. The palliative care team will assist in maintaining life style preferences, supporting relationships and maintaining intimacy along with addressing the financial concerns of a patient and their family.
- Emotional impact of illness. It is common for patients and families to experience a wide range of emotions when coping with serious illness, feelings of worry, sadness, and anger are common. The palliative care team of experts will provide positive ways to address these emotions while assisting the patient and family in determining what is most important to them now.
- Spiritual impact of illness. Serious illness can be a time of great spiritual distress and growth. As the patient and family work through the concerns related to the illness, they will face opportunities to identify sources of meaning in their lives, maintain a sense of hope and address their relationship with God.