Although you can receive palliative care at an outpatient clinic or long-term care facility, you also can get palliative care at home. Palliative care focuses on relieving your symptoms and improving your quality of life at the same time that you are receiving medical treatment. Knowing how it works can help you and your family decide whether palliative care at home is the right choice for you.
Benefits of Palliative Care
Palliative care is available at any stage of an illness. If you experience symptoms such as pain, difficulty breathing, anxiety, depression, bowel or bladder dysfunction, or problems sleeping due to cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, or other serious or chronic illness, the purpose of palliative care is to help you manage the symptoms of your illness and side effects of its treatment. Palliative care may include medication, therapeutic treatments, alternative treatments, nutritional counseling, emotional support, and family or caregiver support.
Your illness doesn't have to be terminal for you to receive palliative care, and it's available to individuals of all ages. Palliative care helps you cope with your illness as well as plan for your future medical care.
Patient and Family/Caregiver Involvement
While your primary care physician will continue to coordinate your medical treatment and care, a home health palliative care team, which may include health professionals such as a nurse, pharmacist, dietitian, social worker, and physical, occupational, and/or respiratory therapist, also will provide care to help meet your care needs. You and your family and caregivers will be involved in the decision-making and goal setting for your treatment and care, which will focus on your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Communication as a Key to Care
Communicating with your palliative care doctor and team contributes to a more successful outcome. Tell your palliative care provider if:
- You have pain
- Medical treatments are working
- You are experiencing unpleasant side effects from medications or other medical treatments
- Your illness is causing you emotional distress
Members of your palliative care home health team will work with your primary care doctor in meeting your goals, including finding the right medicines in the appropriate doses to control your pain and other symptoms with the least number of side effects. Your palliative care providers will listen as you talk about your feelings, stressors, and fears. They will explain to you and your family how your illness is affecting your body, the treatment options available, and how certain treatments can help.
For more information, contact local professionals like Argus Home Health Care.