Palliative Care: Greater Comfort for Serious Illness

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Palliative care at home
Published:  November 1, 2023

When you have a complex or advanced disease, the problems it causes can feel like they’re piling up on you, one on top of another, until it’s hard to see much else. It’s not easy to find comfort in your days with illness wearing so heavily on your body and mind.

That’s why if you’re on a serious illness journey, or are helping guide a loved one through it, finding a good partner can make all the difference. Here’s how to know when palliative care is an appropriate choice for your family.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care provides relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Care teams provide support for your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to help you find an improved quality of life.

For example, many serious illnesses cause pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, or trouble sleeping and eating. Managing these issues and other aspects of an illness can feel overwhelming.

Your palliative care team looks at the full picture of what you’re experiencing, working alongside your primary care provider and hand in hand with your treatment team. Depending on your needs, your team may include:

  • Oversight from a doctor
  • Visits from a nurse practitioner
  • Visits or calls from a medical social worker
  • Visits or calls from a chaplain or spiritual counselor
  • Other specialists

Patients also play an important role in their care team by sharing their goals. For example, one patient may want to focus on healing, while another wants to find acceptance in an advanced stage of an illness.

How is palliative care different from other kinds of care?

Palliative care is different from hospice care, which is used when someone nears the end of their life. Palliative care is an appropriate option for people with serious illness, whether they continue to seek treatment to get better or not—and it starts when a person is diagnosed and continues throughout their illness.

What are the benefits of palliative care?

Palliative care can help people feel better even if they continue to face serious illness. Benefits include:

  • A better quality of life
  • Fewer hospital visits and more independence
  • Relief from physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms
  • Support through all stages of illness and treatment

And it goes beyond just helping the patient—it can help families as well. Caring for a loved one with a serious illness can be challenging. This type of care offers compassion and support for all involved.

If a patient’s illness progresses, care teams are also knowledgeable regarding sensitive issues. From helping you with treatment decisions to respecting your wishes when it comes to end-of-life matters, they will be a constant source of support.

Who can receive palliative care?

Palliative care requires a doctor’s order. It’s for people with serious or life-limiting illnesses with symptoms that affect their quality of life or ability to perform daily tasks. For example, patients with cancer, heart failure, or Parkinson’s disease may use this kind of care. Many other illnesses may also qualify.

At Traditions Health, our team members focus on helping people have the best quality of life possible even when facing serious illness. To learn more click the Request Care button below.

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