Palliative care is also known as supportive care. Many people believe it is the same as hospice care and it means end of life, but it is different. Palliative care offers medical and related treatment towards living as well and as abundantly as possible. It can bring hope, control, and a chance at a better quality of life for loved ones and their caregivers.
Palliative care is patient/family-centered care and is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious or chronic illness. Healthcare professionals embrace a patient's values, goals, and wishes when considering disease management and burden relief from pain, anxiety, fear, and other symptoms. The patient’s plans and wishes are shared with family and friends who provide care, and support is provided to help relieve burdens. Benefits of such care will bring a better quality of life for patient and caregivers, help with difficult medical treatments, reduction in hospitalizations and readmissions, and faster recovery and longer survival rates.
Palliative care is more likely to be suggested when there are:
- Frequent emergency room visits
- Three or more admissions to the hospital with the same symptoms within a year
- Serious side effects from treatments such as chemotherapy
- Eating problems caused by serious illness
Medical professionals who practice palliative care are committed to communication, compassion, seeing the “whole” person, and including the family as part of the healthcare team.