Palliative care is used when someone has a chronic or terminal illness. Palliative care includes the patient and any care staff that may be involved in his or her treatment. Palliative care is more than just end of life care. It also is used during treatment of severe disease when a cure may occur.
The goal of palliative care is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. But it is more than just pain relief. Palliative care also encourages a patient to receive care for the stresses that might be associated with the disease they may suffer.
While medical treatment may be necessary, other types of treatment are frequently also used to keep the patient comfortable. An entire team of professionals ensures that the person being treated has help with their mental, physical and spiritual needs, too.
One does not need to wait until terminal illness to receive palliative care. Any time medical treatment is given, palliative care can also be provided to avoid unnecessary physical or mental suffering.
How to Get Palliative Care
Ask your health care provider for options regarding total person palliative care for yourself or for someone you love. Your doctor may have suggestions on ways to relieve pain and increase a person’s physical well-being. Or he or she may have information on other entities that can complete other areas of palliative care so the total person may be treated.
Ask the individual being treated what you can do to help them feel more comfortable or to make them happy. While a caregiver cannot always cure a person with a serious illness, each patient has different needs and desires that can be met to improve their quality of life.
End of Life Issues
If an individual feels in some control, they may also feel comforted. Patients can make some of the decisions about the end of their lives that may give them both control and comfort. If a person fears being hooked up to machines at the end of their lives, they have the right to make the decision to have a machine-free death. They can also choose to have their family around them at the end. These and many other decisions made before the end of a person’s life may give them great comfort and ease their fears.