Many people are unfamiliar with palliative care and unaware of its benefits. One consequence of that lack of awareness is the needless suffering that many patients experience as their disease progresses and their quality of life diminishes.
The diagnosis of a chronic illness can turn a patient’s life upside down. In those cases, palliative care provides multidisciplinary, patient-centered, supportive care to patients and their families from initial diagnosis through the course of the illness and, when appropriate, helps patients transition to end-of-life hospice care.
- Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with chronic or acute illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, including the pain and stress of a serious illness, assisting with medical decisions and establishing goals of care – whatever the diagnosis and regardless of prognosis.
- The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for the patient, and family and caregivers. Palliative care is provided by doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and other specialists who work with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
- Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided together with curative treatment.
They key to making people comfortable with palliative care is by getting the word out through continuous education. Studies show there is a large portion of primary care providers and specialists who are uncomfortable talking about palliative care-lack of understanding, referring too late to see value, and underestimating the palliative needs to name a few. If this is the case for you or your loved one, what can be done? Those who are familiar can proactively raise the topic, but for those who don’t, people are left in a fearful situation-not understanding all of the information and treatment options available. The team at Bridges Palliative Care is comfortable initiating difficult conversations and provides a safe space to understand the complex and often unmet needs of each unique person.
Palliative care is very beneficial for patients and their families at every stage of a chronic illness. People who receive palliative care have a greater quality of life by experiencing a holistic and comprehensive approach to care.
For more information or to refer a patient, call Bridges Palliative Care at 267-422-8240