Simply defined, palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is a special form of medical treatment designed for patients with serious illnesses. The goal of palliative care is not to cure the illnesses, but rather to alleviate the symptoms and make the patient as comfortable as possible. Palliative care is most commonly applied in a hospice setting for terminally ill patients.
Quality of Life
By treating the pain and suffering caused by terminal illnesses, palliative care professionals are able to improve the patient’s quality of life. This treatment method isn’t only focused on physical pain; it also includes mental health symptoms like grief and depression.
A Team Effort
Palliative care is typically administered by a team of end of life care experts. This team includes a medical director, nurses, social workers, aids, bereavement councilors, and even volunteers. A palliative care team will often work in conjunction with other medical professionals such as a patient’s primary care physician. This team approach offers a comprehensive plan for end of life care.
Not Just the Patient
One of the more unique aspects of palliative care is that it is designed for the entire family, not just the patient. Helping a loved one through end of life care can take an emotional toll on a family, which is why bereavement and grief counseling are offered to family members of hospice patients during the patient’s enrollment and for 12 months after the patient passes away.
Making the decision to switch from a curative style of medical treatment to purely palliative care can sometimes be a tough decision. Families often feel like they’re giving up on their loved one. However, it’s important to remember that palliative care will increase the patient’s quality of life and you will have access to medical professionals who specialize in managing end of life symptoms like chronic pain and depression.
If you have questions about palliative care or are in need of a Tulsa hospice for your loved one, please call Cura-HPC today.