When is the Right Time for Palliative Care?
Palliative care focuses on the comfort of the patient. Many people equate hospice care to palliative care. However, hospice care is just one aspect of palliative care. Patients do not have to be suffering from a life-threatening illness to receive palliative care, though many of the patients who receive it do have a terminal illness. Patients who have been through multiple hospitalizations and surgeries can also benefit from palliative care.
Knowing when to get palliative care in Mesa will depend on multiple factors. Here are a few things you will need to consider:
Type of Illness
Typically, patients receiving palliative care – and certainly those receiving hospice care – are suffering a terminal or life-threatening illness. These are people who have cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s and similar degenerative diseases in the late stages. If your loved one has one of these illnesses, palliative care should certainly be considered.
However, those who have chronic conditions may also benefit from palliative care, which is focused on improving the patient’s comfort and quality of life. For example, those who get multiple surgeries to manage a heart condition or chronic pain would benefit from this type of care.
Options Available for Treatment
When people enter hospice care, they typically should have exhausted all their options for treatment. At that point, the goal is no longer to treat the illness, but to make the patient as comfortable as possible as the disease progresses.
The fundamentals of palliative care should typically be included in basic patient care. However, not all care providers may offer it. If the patient is not getting the relief he or she needs through the current course of treatment or through other treatment options that are available, dedicated palliative care should be considered.
Cost and Funding
Dedicated palliative care can be an expense that some families cannot afford. It is important to know the cost of the different services, as well as to learn about what funding options are available, either through social services or family resources.
The cost of in-home services can also vary greatly from the cost of services in the hospital or an inpatient care facility. Talk with a counselor about the different options and the cost of each. You may be able to customize a plan of care that can fit within your family’s budget, or the counselor may be able to help you find the appropriate funding resources.
What the Patient Wants
Perhaps the most important way to know whether palliative care is appropriate or not is to talk with your loved one directly about what they want. They may want to pursue other courses of treatment, or they may want to avoid hospital stays or visits as much as possible. If your goal is to provide comfort to your loved one, you need to find out what will actually bring them comfort. Don’t treat your loved one like a patient – treat them like a person actively involved in their own care.
Palliative care can provide needed relief and comfort for those suffering from chronic, intense, or terminal illnesses. Talk to your loved one and their care team to determine when the right time would be to look into palliative care, and then consider whether at-home care would be best or you should find a dedicated care facility. You have multiple options for where to get care and for funding, so you should be able to get the solutions you need and find a way to fit it into your budget.
American Hospice and Palliative Care provides the services your family needs in Arizona. We offer palliative care for patients in their home or in our hospice facility. Hospice care requires that certain requirements be met, but palliative care can be offered to patients dealing with a range of health problems. Our team aims to treat symptoms and provide physical comfort wherever possible. We also provide spiritual comfort where desired, as well as support for the family and the caretaker. Some of our support services include support groups, counseling, recommendations for community resources, and grief counseling (when a terminal illness is involved). Call us in Arizona to learn more about our palliative and hospice care or the support services we offer.
1212 N. Spencer St., Suite #2
Mesa, Arizona 85203
Office: (480) 726-7773
Fax: (480) 726-7790