Palliative Care: Relief for Those With Serious Illness

palliative care

We recently shared some steps to make sure your end-of-life care wishes are met. These came from many years of working with clients and families and seeing this issue overlooked or avoided. Because of this and various logistical/systematic issues, we’ve seen too many people (and their families) spend their last months in and out of ERs and hospitals, getting medical tests and treatments, while confused, stressed and in discomfort. We hope the tips help more people avoid that situation.

What many people wish for at the end of life (or even for many months or years while dealing with a serious illness) is to focus on quality of life rather than quantity. Of course, what this means is quite personal but many clients we talk to do not want to spend most of their time with doctors and in the hospital. They don’t want to be in pain and they want help with symptom management. Today, we share more about palliative care as a solution to help with managing a serious illness.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illness. It is specialized care provided by a multidisciplinary team to improve quality of life for the patient and family.

The multidisciplinary team works in coordination with your other doctors, you and your family.  Palliative care can be used at different disease stages and while you are seeking out curative care.

When Might I Need Palliative Care?

It is worth seeking out more information if you are dealing with pain, symptoms and stress from a serious illness (such as cancer, MS, ALS, cardiac or respiratory disease, AIDS, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Parkinson’s, etc.). If you are struggling with symptoms like nausea, pain, fatigue, insomnia, and/or having emotional, familial or spiritual concerns, palliative care can provide the extra support you need.

If we find a client and family struggling with the issues we mentioned (batteries of tests, going in and out of the hospital, experiencing anxiety and discomfort) we often suggest a consultation with a palliative care team to evaluate the situation. Sometimes one of our clients is at the hospital in the midst of such struggles and we know the extra information and support from the palliative care professionals can be very helpful. The specialization in managing chronic illness brings a different perspective.

Here are some useful FAQs about palliative care such as insurance and Medicare coverage, how a palliative care team coordinates with your primary doctor and more.

How the EasyLiving Team Can Help

Our EasyLiving care team is here to help you with personalized care to meet your needs at various stages of life. Here are a few of the ways we can help you and your family when dealing with serious illness:

  • Supportive in-home (whether home is a private home, retirement community, assisted living facility or nursing home) care that is personalized to your needs. We ensure continuity of care for you and take care of the “little things” that improve quality of life.
  • Aging life care management advocacy and coordination: a care manager helps you and your family navigate the system and identify resources like palliative care and hospice that might help you. We know the questions to ask and where to get answers. We focus on your goals and coordinating between the various parties, so you get better outcomes with significantly less stress.
  • Non-medical assistance that is vital, but often forgotten, when dealing with illness. This includes: nutrition (shopping, meal planning and prep), medication and treatment management, household help (errands, light housekeeping, home safety), transportation, doctor’s appointments (coordinating, scheduling, accompanying, and advocating), socialization and companionship (and help with doing the activities that are still important to you), counseling and support.

To learn more about how we can help you and your family, contact EasyLiving online or at 727-447-5845.