Palliative care, according to the World Health Organization, enhances the quality of life for people facing life-threatening diseases and their families. This type of care relieves pain, does not hasten or prolong life, affirms life while acknowledging that dying is a normal process, includes psychological and spiritual elements in the patient's care, and constructs a support system both for the patient and for the patient's family. It aspires to enhance the quality of life and as much normality as possible. Palliative care can begin in the early stages of a life-threatening disease along with therapies designed to prolong life such as chemotherapy and radiation.
The kind of palliative care you receive depends on your goals and defined needs. It can help you and your loved ones understand the illness, talk openly about it, decide among various treatments, and facilitate communication with medical professionals.
Now recognized as an important component to complete patient care, many hospitals have palliative care teams composed of doctors, nurses, social workers, dieticians, spiritual advisors, and physical therapists as well as other trained professionals. Sometimes volunteers join a team to provide socialization, or to teach a patient a skill. Close friends and family members can provide assistance.
Palliative care differs from hospice care in that hospice care becomes an option only when your doctor believes you have six months or less to live. Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of an illness when a patient and his family need assistance in managing physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Palliative care is appropriate in any setting, whether the patient is at home, at the doctor's office, or in the hospital. Hospice care typically begins at home -- where the patient lives -- and will continue if a patient is admitted to a nursing home or medical facility. In both types of care, the patient's decisions are honored.
Medicare Part B may cover some treatments and medications that provide palliative care, including visits from health professionals and social workers. Medicare does not use the term "palliative," so coverage is provided by standard Medicare Part B benefits.
According to the Center To Advance Palliative Care, approximately 61 percent of all hospitals with more than 50 beds have a palliative care team today. The number of teams has increased by 164 percent over 12 years. Palliative care may offer the services and assistance you and your senior loved one are seeking.
At Caring Senior Service, our expert staff is comprised of extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and trusted professionals who take pride in helping your loved one manage their daily activities. Contact us today to learn more!