Nothing is more overwhelming than being diagnosed with a serious medical condition. In addition to worrying about how you will conduct your normal daily activities and care for your family, you might also stress about enduring treatments, handling depression, and how you will look during your recovery. Fortunately, most hospitals have palliative care programs which can give you a hand while you cope with your illness. Here are three goals of palliative care, and how it might be able to help you.
1: To Improve Physical Comfort
The word "palliative" literally means to treat the symptoms of a problem without treating the underlying cause. Because palliative care doesn't usually focus on curing patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer, COPD, AIDS, and congestive heart failure, most people figure that it wouldn't be able to help them. However, what most people don't understand about palliative care is that it is usually used in conjunction with traditional medicine.
The main goal of palliative care is to improve the comfort levels of patients as they endure medical treatments. Palliative doctors specialize in symptom control, and have extensive experience with treating pain levels. Unlike traditional doctors, who might have to hurry from patient to patient, palliative physicians will take the time to explain your condition, talk about treatment options, and help you to make the best decision for your current situation.
Your palliative medical team will take the time to create a customized symptom treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs, so that you can remain as comfortable as possible.
2: To Enhance Your Quality of Life
One of the best things about palliative care is that it is a multi-faceted approach to medical care. Instead of meeting with one or two doctors and their staff, you have the opportunity to work with a team of people who are dedicated to improving your quality of life. Here are a few members of your palliative care team, and how they might be able to serve your needs.
- Therapists: Dealing with a serious medical condition can be difficult, and sometimes it can help to discuss your feelings with another person. Unfortunately, talking with family members might make the situation even harder for them. Fortunately, your palliative care team might include a professional therapist to walk you through the emotional issues tied to battling a disease.
- Social Workers: Your palliative care social worker might become your new best friend. Social workers traditionally focus on the more practical aspects of your treatment, such as arranging rides, taking care of health insurance calls, or helping you to track down a great looking wig.
- Spiritual Leaders: Serious medical conditions can really put things into perspective. If you decide to get in touch with your religious side, you might be able to find a spiritual leader in your area that shares your beliefs to provide you with much-needed guidance and advice.
A skilled palliative care team can help to lighten your emotional load so that focus on your recovery.
3: To Complement Medical Treatments
Unlike hospice care, which is generally only used for the last 6 months of a patient's life, palliative care is meant to compliment the patient's recovery for the duration of their treatment. Instead of simply focusing on ending your pain and giving up, palliative care is meant to complement medical treatments. Patients who participate in palliative care will still have the opportunity to seek treatment from their normal doctors, and take their regular medication.
Because palliative care can be used as a supplemental treatment, patients who participate in palliative care programs generally tend to do better than those who don't. In fact, studies have shown that patients who take advantage of palliative care programs spend 43% less time in the hospital on average than patients who didn't participate in the same programs. If you want to improve your quality of life, remain more comfortable, and spend your time recovering in the comfort of your own home, consider adding palliative care to your treatment plan.
Palliative care can give you the support that you need while you take on the challenge of recovering from a serious medical condition. Click here to check it out.