When Do You Get Referred to Palliative Care?
Palliative care is not the same as hospice care in Chandler, which is often a point of confusion for people. Hospice care is usually thought of for people who are facing their final days, such as when they have come to the likely end of a terminal illness. Palliative care is provided for all people with serious illness, regardless of whether the illness is terminal and regardless of what stage of the illness the patient is in. People who have only recently been diagnosed with a serious illness can still benefit from palliative care.
Part of the reason for this confusion is that palliative care is a relatively new medical practice – compared to medical treatment in general, that is. Another reason is that doctors themselves are more focused on treating the disease rather than providing relief for the patient that they don’t often think to recommend palliative care. However, palliative care is essential for providing patients relief from symptoms, helping patients and their family members process their feelings, and helping to relieve stress by managing care and recommending support resources. The goal is to improve the quality of life for the patient and for loved ones in whatever way possible.
Timing of Care
Many people think that an illness has to be in the later stages before palliative care is necessary. This is not the case. Your loved one does not have to be bed-ridden or require a home health worker to need or benefit from palliative care. A person in any stage of their illness can benefit from care to manage the symptoms and better handle the overwhelming aspects of the disease, such as coordinating the medical team or handling the finances.
For example, if someone was just diagnosed with cancer, palliative care might be necessary to help with the devastating symptoms of chemotherapy or to deal with the grief of a mastectomy. Someone who has just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis might need palliative care to learn how to manage the fatigue or to get alternative therapies that help with depression. Both patients and their loved ones can reap the benefits of palliative care from day one, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the illness.
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A lot of people don’t think that they need Chandler palliative care unless their doctor recommends it. But this just isn’t the truth. What’s more likely to happen is that a doctor won’t even think about providing the recommendation because the primary focus will be exploring treatment options. If a patient complains about symptoms, a doctor is most likely to explain that they are inevitable or to write a prescription rather than recommend palliative care.
If your doctor or loved one’s doctor does not provide a referral for palliative care, ask for one. You can take charge of your own medical care. You or your loved one do not have to suffer from severe symptoms needlessly.
The reason many people don’t think that palliative care is necessary until the later stages of a disease is that the symptoms don’t tend to worsen until then. But patients can benefit from palliative care at any stage of the disease.
If you notice that your loved one’s symptoms are worsening, you should look into palliative care. The care team will explore alternative therapies that can provide relief, such as massage, physical therapy, music therapy, and more. These therapies can provide relief from symptoms like nausea, pain, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and more.
A serious illness can take a hard toll on your family. You may feel overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious, and depressed. Working with a palliative care team can bring relief to your loved one while providing support for your family. Take advantage of this important resource as early in the process as you feel it would be helpful.
Americare Hospice & Palliative Care provides care for your loved one in your home or in our in-patient facility. We provide extensive family support services, as well, including counseling, grief therapy, and support groups. The care we give our patients not only provides them relief, but also provides their family members relief also. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one in Arizona.
1212 N. Spencer St., Suite #2
Mesa, Arizona 85203
Office: (480) 726-7773
Fax: (480) 726-7790