Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Palliative Care. Obviously this list doesn’t cover every possible question, but there are many online resources (eg: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization) that provide a 1-800 number for any other queries you might have.
What is Palliative Care?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health (NIH), “[p]alliative care is comprehensive treatment of the discomfort, symptoms and stress of serious illness. It does not replace your primary treatment; palliative care works together with the primary treatment you’re receiving. The goal is to prevent and ease suffering and improve your quality of life.”
What patients are eligible to receive palliative care?
Anyone of any age who is dealing with a serious or life-threatening illness is eligible regardless of diagnosis or their ability to pay.
Does Palliative care include support for family members?
Your palliative care plan will include practical, emotional and spiritual support for family members. Practical support comes in the form of education and instructions on how to care for the patient and their symptoms, and discussion about treatment options.
What can I expect from palliative care?
Palliative care provides:
• Expert treatment of pain and other symptoms
• Planning and discussion about treatment options to manage disease and symptoms
• Coordination and communication with other health care team members
• Assurance that the patient’s wishes for and during care are followed as closely as possible
How does Palliative care improve my quality of life?
Palliative care helps relieve symptoms of pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and many other symptoms that can affect a patient’s ability to participate in normal, day-to-day activities. Palliative care can also help patients deal with any side effects of any medications or treatments.