Palliative care may not provide the cure that many patients hope for, but it can provide symptom relief and improved quality of life. Palliative Care typically uses a team approach to provide care in the following areas:
People living with life-threatening illness may experience pain or discomfort. This pain also affects families and relationships. Palliative care involves specially trained professionals working with patients and their families to find the cause of the pain and the best way to relieve it. Pain may be managed with a variety of medications and by other therapies: music therapy, massage or touch therapy and relaxation exercises.
People may experience a variety of symptoms. These can include loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, difficulty breathing, bowel and bladder problems, and confusion. Palliative care can help relieve these symptoms that may be very distressing.
Social, Psychological Emotional & Spiritual Support
The health of the whole person is important in palliative care. Because of this, palliative care services provide many different kinds of support to both the individual and family from the entire palliative care team.
Advance Care Planning-Advance Directives
Advance health care planning is a process where patients and/or loved ones come together to understand a patient’s health condition, their lifelong patterns, values and beliefs and how they feel about end of life care. They then begin to formulate a plan for future medical care if the time comes when the patient is unable to plan or make decisions for him or herself. This is known as an advance directive.
Families may become concerned about whether they will be able care for their family member. Palliative care services that help the family cope include:
- Advice and assistance from health care providers such as nurses and doctors who are skilled in providing palliative care
- Instructions on discharge planning including how to care for the person both physically and emotionally.
- Assistance with finding resources to provide care where the patient calls home.
- Social worker involvement with financial, social and emotional issues.
- Relief and support for the caregiver by volunteer services
- Presence and guidance of spiritual services
Links to community support such as hospice, home care, grief support
Palliative care services provide support for family members to work through their own emotions and grief regarding the death of their loved one. Bereavement support may begin when the grieving starts. This may be before the death of the family member.
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