What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is a medical specialty that supports the best possible quality of life for patients and their families facing serious illness. Regardless of the expected duration or outcome of an illness, palliative care strives to reduce stress, uncertainties, and distressing symptoms, allowing patients to focus on those things that are important to them.
When is palliative care needed?
Palliative care should be contemplated for anyone suffering from serious or chronic debilitating illnesses that dramatically disrupt their normal lifestyle. Medical conditions that can benefit from palliative care include, but are not limited to, cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF) and other cardiac diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and kidney failure.
How can palliative care help patients?
Palliative care helps optimize quality of life by addressing the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients suffering from serious illness. PCMA will prepare unique care plans for each patient that includes but are not limited to:
- Identifies the goals of care
- Provides patient with a better understanding of the illness and more control over decisions
- Management of pain of other symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, and nausea
- Increases patient tolerance of medical treatment
- Emphasizes quality of life
- Relieves stress on family members and personal caregivers
When should palliative care begin?
At one time, palliative care was predominantly provided for people in the final stage of cancer after active treatment was discontinued. Today it is recognized that palliative care can relieve suffering in all stages of disease. It has been proven most effective when it begins early and is part of a transitional care continuum throughout the duration of an illness, concurrent with other prescribed treatments.
How is palliative care provided?
PCMA will manage your palliative care treatment in partnership with the patient, the patient’s family, primary care physician(s), hospital and nursing home staff, social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists, clergy, and all other stakeholders as needed to ensure the patient enjoys the highest quality of life possible. This team approach ensures good communication among all caregivers and can greatly reduce the confusion that often arises from being treated in multiple medical settings.
Where is palliative care provided?
Palliative care can be provided in any patient setting – the patient’s private residence, assisted living community, skilled nursing facility, or hospital.