~ Elizabeth Jones, CRNP
What is palliative care?
Many people are familiar with the term “hospice” care, which is available to those with a life-limiting illness with an estimated 6 months or less to live, should their disease take its natural course. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing, with the goal being comfort and improving quality of life. Hospice care provides many services, including medical care, medication, supplies, equipment, counseling, and emotional/spiritual support for the patient and family members. Hospice care can be provided in your home, a hospital, a nursing home or long-term care facility, or in a hospice residence.
People tend to be less familiar with the term “palliative care”, which is available to anyone with a chronic, serious, or even terminal illness. Unlike hospice care, palliative care can be initiated at any time or stage of an illness, whether it is terminal or not. The focus is similar, and aims to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Palliative care, however, can be used with active treatment for the underlying condition. Its availability does not depend on whether or not your condition can be cured. Palliative care aims to relieve symptoms such as pain, nausea, breathing problems, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, stress, anxiety, depression, and many others. The palliative care team works with your primary doctor and specialists, and can help you and your family have more control over your care by helping you understand your choices for treatment.
For more information on hospice and/or palliative care, please follow the links below. You are also welcome to talk to one of the Andrews & Patel providers or nurses for more information. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have!