Many people associate Palliative Care with cancer care but palliative care is ever so much more. Palliative care is comfort focused and includes measures to improve one’s quality of life by managing symptoms of chronic, serious, terminal and other conditions. Whether shortness of breath related to emphysema, fatigue related to cancer treatment or swelling that accompanies congestive heart failure, palliative care offers treatment and options to minimize symptoms and enhance daily living.
Palliative care is individualized care that meets the needs of each person based upon what symptoms they are experiencing, what their personal goals and preferences are and what their individual condition requires for relief. A person who is being provided palliative care is able to continue curative approaches to their conditions as well.
Palliative care can be provided to anyone of any age and for any symptoms that interfere with or negatively affect daily living and comfort. Common symptoms that palliative care addresses may include:
- nausea , vomiting, poor appetite and weight loss
- shortness of breath, edema, weight gain
- pain, discomfort, difficult mobility
- stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety
- difficulty sleeping or feeling lethargic and too sleepy
- constipation or diarrhea
- and many others
Palliative care may be provided individually by a person’s primary physician or by a full team including but not limited to physicians, nurses, social workers, dieticians, complimentary therapy practitioners, physical, occupational and respiratory therapists, pharmacists and many more. Caring for the whole person and their support circle is essential to achieving therapeutic effects and the most benefit from palliative care approaches. Speak to your primary care provider about your palliative care options.