Reading through all of this information may be confusing; feel free to reach out to us directly at (818) 279-6580 to speak to an intake coordinator who will help you start the process to get the information you need. Our non profit organization offers free care coordination services to seniors as well as older adults who are struggling with a disability.
What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
Improves Quality of Life
Palliative care treats people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more.
Palliative care focuses on symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and depression. It also helps you gain the strength to carry on with daily life. It improves your ability to tolerate medical treatments. And it helps you have more control over your care by improving your understanding of your choices for treatment.
A Partnership of Patient, Specialists and Family
Palliative care is a team approach to care. The core team includes doctor, nurse and social work palliative care specialists. Massage therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, chaplains and others may also be part of the team.
The team spends as much time as necessary with you and your family. They become a partner with you, your family and your other doctors. They support you and your family every step of the way, not only by controlling your symptoms, but also by helping you to understand your treatment options and goals.
The palliative care team will spend a lot of time with you and your family. They will assess your pain level and other symptoms. They will discuss and explain all of your treatment options. And above all, they will explore your goals and wishes so that they can help you match treatments to your goals.
But what should you ask the team during the meeting? Here are some suggestions:
- What can I expect from palliative care?
- Where will my care be provided (e.g., in the hospital, home, nursing home, hospice)?
- Who is on the palliative care team?
- What are your recommendations for my care?
- What decisions need to be made by either my family or me?
- Will you help explain my treatment choices and the issues involved in making these decisions?
- Will you communicate openly and candidly with my family and me about my illness?
- Will you continue to be involved in my care when I am in the hospital (if you are an outpatient).
- Will you continue to be involved in my care when I am discharged from the hospital?
- How will you work with and communicate with my other doctors?
- What will you do if I experience severe pain or other symptoms?
- What support will you provide to my family and/or caregivers?
- Will you still be available to me throughout my illness?
- How can I reach you?
- What resources do you recommend for me to learn more about palliative care?
Please call (818) 279-6580 to learn more about AMAZING resources!