When considering palliative and end of life care, many consider illnesses in which a person will never recover. While this is true of end of life care, palliative care is slightly different.
Palliative care is care for those who are living with a terminal illness in which there is no possible cure, however, they may be able to have their symptoms controlled. It’s often used in conjunction with such treatments as chemotherapy. It’s to help the patient in controlling their symptoms.
End of life care is important as it offers the patient both psychological as well as spiritual and social care needs. End of life care helps the person to live their life to the best possible potential, while preparing for the end with dignity.
End of life care will continue until the patient is no longer alive. It may be a matter of days or weeks, or it may last several months or years. It all depends upon the condition and the patient.
As a patient progresses through an illness, they may begin with palliative care and slowly work their way to end of life care. This is normal course for many medical conditions and not at all unheard of.
Palliative care, as well as, end of life care, may be done as an inpatient or as an outpatient. In the case of end of life, it’s frequently done in home to a bedridden patient in an effort to help them stay in their familiar surroundings during the end of life.
It also offers the patient’s family some precious private time with the patient to quietly say their “goodbyes” as the patient is dying. There are many specialists that will be visiting the patients home during this time.
These specialists may include a nurse that is trained in end of life care as well as a nurses aid that will help to bathe and take care of the patient. At the family’s request, other healthcare personnel may sometimes be available.
The goal of palliative care is to offer a holistic approach to help improve the patient’s life during chemotherapy, radiation or other treatments. It focuses on quality and helping patients to cope with the various changes and side effects that the medications are taking them through.
As family members are wading through the various aspects of their loved one’s medical condition, it’s always helpful to have others on board to assist with the really tough questions.
These professionals can help to keep the patient’s family informed and offer some support. They can also assist the family in navigating the health care system and understanding the processes of many of the treatments.
To find out more information on the palliative and end of life care programs, check with your local hospital’s social and health services or ask your nurse. They can give you more detailed information and help get you connected to the right people who can assist you in getting the proper care for your family members condition.