Today in America we see the population is getting older and sicker. More and more Americans are facing life-threatening illnesses as they age, or sadly even in their youth. Palliative care has grown to meet the complex needs of this population and their families.
According to a 2017 article in the journal palliative care, we find that many people living who are teenagers or in their later years with a chronic life-threatening illness either do not receive any palliative care or receive services only in the last phase of their illness.
What is Palliative Care?
Although the overarching philosophy is similar, palliative and hospice care are distinct services. Hospice care is provided to patients near the end of life, with a high risk of dying in the next six months, and who will no longer benefit from or have chosen to forego further disease-related treatment.
However, the focus with palliative care switches from end of life to all phases of life and disease progression. Like hospice, the treatments are not curative. The nurses, doctors and therapists provide quality medical care to help the patient live their best life alongside their illness, focusing on pain management, mobility, communication, and other general functions that are meaningful to the patient.
Palliative care also tends to the family of the patient, helping them process the emotional and spiritual turmoil that often accompanies life altering illness.
Who is it for?
Palliative care is available to all patients with serious illness regardless of age, prognosis, disease stage, or treatment choice. It is ideally provided early and throughout the illness, together with life-prolonging or curative treatments. In other words, patients don’t have to choose between treatment for their illness and palliative care. Palliative care providers work alongside the patients existing team of doctors and specialists.
Palliative care not only improves the quality of life of patients and their families, reducing mental and physical distress and discomfort, but also can help patients live longer. The prolonged survival is thought to be due to improved quality of life, appropriate administration of disease-directed treatments, and early referral to hospice for intensive symptom management and stabilization.
How Can I Help?
To find out more about local pediatric palliative care in the Utah, visit bradesplace.org. Visit this site today and start getting your loved ones the care they need today!