What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care relieves symptoms of disease to improve quality of life when you or a loved one is seriously ill.
It can help you make better decisions about the care you choose and show you how to manage pain and other symptoms. Having pain under control helps you focus on what is important to you.
How to Get Palliative Care Service
Palliative care can be given at any stage of a disease.
- Referral – When you can no longer handle symptoms on your own, see or talk to your doctor about a referral for palliative care. The sooner the referral, the more services will help.
- Eligibility – Palliative care is for anyone who is seriously ill. It can also be given along with curative treatment. Ask your doctor if it is right for you.
- Payment – Some insurance plans cover all or part of palliative care. Medicare and Medicaid may also cover costs.
The Palliative Care Team
The palliative care team is made up of a core group of experts who show people how to best cope with their illness. Team members include:
- Patients & families are the focus of the team
- Doctors trained in comfort care
- Nurses trained in comfort care
- Social workers guide patients through practical matters and arrange for emotional or other support
- Chaplains provide emotional support during hard times
The care plan & making it work
The care team will help you make a plan of care based on your values and beliefs. The plan will change as your needs change. The team can help you:
- Know as much about your illness as you can so you can understand your options.
- Think about what “quality of life” means to you.
- Think about your beliefs and values.
- Think about the goal of your care.
- Make sure the care plan is working and make changes or provide other support as needed.
The palliative care teams work in a variety of settings: hospitals, health care systems, hospices, or where the patient lives.
- Order medications and therapies
- Provide instructions about how to take the medication
- Educate about other ways to control symptoms
- Suggest simple exercises or a change in diet