Palliative care is a type of interdisciplinary medical care that seeks to improve quality of life and reduce suffering in people with a life-limiting illness. It is usually provided to people who have complex, serious, or terminal illnesses. While there are many different definitions of palliative care, the practice generally focuses on improving comfort, maximizing quality of life, and minimizing suffering.
It can be administered any time during the course of a patient’s illness. A referral from a primary care physician is usually required for palliative care. Many health plans cover some of the treatment, including visits from a doctor or nurse practitioner or social worker. Medicaid, which is a health insurance program for low-income individuals, may also cover certain medications and treatments. However, Medicaid does not use the term ‘palliative’.
A hospice care team will address the physical, psychological, spiritual, and social needs of the person in the last weeks of life. It will also honor a person’s culture and customs and help them make important decisions. Additionally, the staff will offer support and grief-care for the dying person’s family.
Palliative care specialists will help caregivers build support networks. Caregivers often face enormous stress and become overwhelmed with the added responsibilities. They may be unable to focus on their own health and well-being while providing care for their family and loved one with cancer. Uncertainty about the medical situation can also lead to caregiver stress. The stress can affect a patient’s mental and physical health.
In general, palliative care improves the quality of life for the patient and their families. The goal is to minimize the pain and suffering caused by a life-threatening illness. It addresses physical, psychological, and spiritual symptoms of a patient’s illness, as well as the caregiver’s mental and emotional well-being. Palliative care is provided in coordination with ongoing concurrent treatment.
A palliative care team is composed of multiple medical professionals who work together to improve communication and decision-making. It is crucial that a patient’s wishes and values are reflected and implemented in the care they receive. As part of the team, palliative care specialists will provide emotional support and information to help their patients make the best decision for their health.
Palliative care has been shown to reduce depression and other mental health conditions. A study in 2017 concluded that people with advanced cancer who also displayed symptoms of depression had the greatest benefit from receiving early palliative care. Although palliative care isn’t available everywhere, it is important for patients and their families to seek it out if they need it.
While hospice care is often delivered in hospitals, it can also be provided in the comfort of the patient’s home. Unlike traditional medical care, palliative care services aren’t related to age, gender, or race. They are dedicated to improving the quality of life and comfort of patients with serious illnesses.