Palliative Care: Putting the Patient Back in Control
What’s important to you? Your answer as a healthy 25-year old may be very different from a person diagnosed with a serious illness.
For some patients, the answer may be pursuing every possible treatment to fight their disease. For others, it may be living the highest possible quality of life for whatever time they have remaining.
Palliative care puts the patient in complete control of this decision by providing the education, care, and resources needed to support their choices.
Supporting the Patient’s Choice to Continue Treatment
When a patient is seriously ill, there comes a time when they have to consider the pros and cons of continuing treatment.
In the case of cancer, the patient’s choice to continue treatment often means managing the side effects generated by that treatment. This is where palliative care can help.
While the patient’s oncologist focuses their attention on destroying the cancer cells, the palliative care team works to manage side effects like pain and nausea. In addition, the palliative care social worker is able to connect the patient and their family to support groups where they can talk with others going through a similar experience. They can also assist in finding community resources who can help with things like meal delivery.
The palliative care team provides similar support to patients with congestive heart failure, addressing fluid build-up and respiratory concerns. For patients with dementia, liver or kidney disease, or neurological conditions, they provide treatment in the home and additional resources to improve patient quality of life.
Supporting the Patient’s Choice to End Treatment
At some point, when curative treatment is no longer effective or when the discomfort of side effects outweighs the benefits of the treatment, a patient may decide to stop treatment and focus on quality of life.
At this point, hospice care provides patients and their families with a team of hospice professionals to support their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs in the family home, assisted living facility, or wherever the patient is currently residing.
At Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, we begin by assessing the patient’s current needs in term of care, equipment, and supplies. Then we go deeper. We look at what the patient’s goals are for the rest of their lives. Do they have a hobby they would like to do one last time? Is there a family wedding they hope to attend?
We do everything in our power to assist the patient in achieving these goals because hospice care isn’t about marking off days on a calendar. It’s about having the best possible life for as long as you can.
Your Partners in Care
Every patient has the right to self-determination in their medical care. There is no right or wrong answer in continuing treatment or deciding to focus on comfort measures. It is our role as healthcare providers to support whichever choice the patient makes and provide the best comfort and care.
To learn more about how Crossroads can support your family at any stage of a serious illness, please contact us at 1-888-564-3405.
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