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Palliative Care: What Is It and What Are Its Benefits for People?

If you have never heard of palliative care, then you are one of the lucky ones who has never gone through the struggle. However, if you have heard the word, chances are you have heard it recently. Palliative care is one of the most demanding care facilities being asked for in recent times. 

After the spread of COVID-19 virus, the demand for palliative care rose and more people got educated about this option. More and more hospitals are trying to provide palliative care to their patients who seriously need it. 

If you don’t really know much about palliative care services, this article is for you. Get to know what palliative care is and its benefits. 

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care, as described by The Centre to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), is a specialized medical care for people suffering from serious health issues that cannot be dealt with by themselves. 

Its ultimate goal is to provide a good quality life to the patients as well as their family members by offering all the necessary help that the patients will require in order to get healthy. 

Palliative care is a team-based job that consists of several members with different roles. The team may have physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health professionals, chaplains etc.  

This kind of care can be given to patients of any age if they are suffering from a serious health issue.

Focus on Palliative Care

Palliative care mainly focuses on providing care in the area of-

  • Symptom management
  • Advance care planning
  • Comfort measure to support quality of life
  • Pain management
  • Referrals to community resources
  • Navigation of treatment options

People often get confused between palliative care and hospice, but they are completely different. Hospice focuses on providing an easy end to life and is usually done in the last six months. 

This also suggests that there are no treatment options left for the patient. On the other hand, as mentioned above, palliative care constantly treats patients and also looks out for other ways as well as new ways to treat patients.

Home-Based Palliative Care

Many people think that palliative care is carried out in hospitals, but since technology has advanced a lot, most of the required hospital equipment can be available at patient’s homes too. 

Hence, palliative care at home is also a great option if the family wants to be closer to the patient at all times.

Who Needs Palliative Care?

Palliative care is offered to patients who have a very serious illness, long-lasting disease or a life-limiting illness. Usually, this kind of care is provided to patients suffering from following illnesses-

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Kidney Disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Congestive heart failure

Care for cancer treatment and other serious diseases requires constant effort and attention, which is why palliative care is a great choice for patients suffering from such diseases.

Palliative Care Benefits:

The benefits of palliative care are numerous and some of them are-

  • Puts the patients, their goals and their desires first
  • Full alignment with and amongst the care team
  • Helps the patients understand and match treatment plans to their goals
  • Relieves the pain and symptoms of their chronic illness
  • Allows the patients and caregivers to engage in advance care planning
  • Reduces the likelihood of receiving aggressive, unwanted treatment
  • Improves the quality of life
  • Helps relieve the stress often experienced by the family
  • Provides an extra layer of support when it is most needed

Palliative care is the future of healthcare. If you ever happen to be in a situation where you have to opt for it, research the available options and make a well-informed choice. 

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