Palliative care is the relief of suffering - physical and emotional - associated with a life limiting illness. It improves quality of life and in some cases can extend life. It can be a treatment all on its own, or it can be combined with "typical" medical care. It is NOT just for those with a cancer diagnosis. It is helpful for all life-limiting illnesses including COPD, CHF (congestive heart failure), renal failure (advanced kidney disease), and neurological diseases like dementia and ALS.
"Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual."
- http://www.who.int/cancer/palliative/definition/en/ Accessed Feb 2018
According to the Alzheimer Society "Planning for end-of-life care should begin as soon as possible after a diagnosis of dementia." This is very important, especially to discuss the patient's wishes regarding future care, as there will come a time when caregivers must make all medical decisions for the person with dementia.
Many people don't realize that heart failure is a life limiting condition that can lead to serious symptoms of shortness of breath or chest pain even while doing nothing. Advanced heart failure does NOT respond to normal treatments. When the pump (your heart) is unable to perform its job anymore, it leads to difficulty breathing and being weak. Its important to plan ahead if you have heart failure.
"In general, people living with COPD deteriorate physically over time. A decrease in energy and strength is common with progressive diseases. Typically people also experience decreasing capacity for activity, increasing shortness of breath, weight loss, and decreasing blood oxygen levels."
Caregivers go through as much as the patient who is ill. Demands on your time and your energy as well as changes in your role can pile up at times. Sometimes there might feel like there is no one you can talk to.
Who will speak for you if you can't?
Will they make the same decisions that you would want?
The best way to make sure this will happen is to write out an advanced care plan.
Government resources on the assisted dying legislation and your legal right to be assessed should you wish can be accessed at the link below. Dr. Holowaty believes in a person's right to this information as part of a full palliative care approach. If you have questions, please ask.
Published in 2014
Doug G shares his story of palliative care.
Copyright © 2018 Dr. Melissa Holowaty - All Rights Reserved.
The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
Powered by GoDaddy