Friday, March 27, 2015

Palliative care

Palliative care is not hospice care. It can be part of hospice care but in itself is separate. Now there is some research that palliative care should start at the point of an advanced stage cancer diagnosis and not later. The study focused on both the patient and the caregivers. Both of who handled everything better with it. Palliative care is pain and symptom relief - isn't that really important?

Personally I think palliative care should be part of any major medical diagnosis. I have been through too many medical issues not to appreciate the importance of it. I sometimes my consider my pain management doctor one of the most important people in my medical team. See Hollye's diagnosis story here where she talks about this more.

"Palliative care, a team-based approach in which a group of professionals – including doctors, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, dieticians, and chaplains – focus on relieving the pain, anxiety, and stress that cancer can cause, can help control pain and improve quality of life in many situations."

At my breast cancer diagnosis, a social worker was involved in the initial team and was part of my care all during active treatment and somewhat afterwards. As I grew stronger, I was able to find support elsewhere that was more convenient and didn't require  yet another drive to the (damn) hospital.

"...your plan might include ways to manage pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and insomnia. Your team also can provide help and resources for dealing with emotional, practical, and spiritual concerns."

Pain management is essential in well being. If you are in any kind of pain, whether post surgical or other causes, keeping it under control offers the patient an important respite - the ability to rest, eat, and move more easily.

While I might not need more palliative care right now, I will be sure to find it when I do.

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