How a Palliative Care Program can Ease End of Life Discomfort

The ending of a life is as natural as its beginning, albeit somewhat more feared. When a loved one becomes ill or incapacitated, there are decisions that have to be made such as when to stop driving, move into assisted living, or in some cases whether or not to choose a hospice or Palliative Care Program.

What is a palliative care program? It consists of a team of caregivers that works with the family to ensure quality of life for a loved one. This team can consist of physicians, nurses, social workers, massage therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, and chaplains. Their goal is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible, providing end of life enjoyment and pain management. The team can also provide support for the family while they work through end of life issues and bereavement services.

When is the right time to consider palliative care? When a loved one has received a diagnosis of having 6 months or less to live. It is also recommended with chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Congestive Heart Failure, Parkinson’s, and many other terminal illnesses, when the quality of life has been reduced to an extent that treatment is not progressing the health of the patient. It can also be an option when the patient has lost faith in the treatments, as can be the case with some cancer patients.

What is the difference between hospice and palliative care? The focus of palliative care is on easing pain and enhancing enjoyment of life, while the focus of hospice is to forgo curative care. Another major difference is that palliative care is more frequently provided in a hospital or nursing facility while hospice is generally provided in the home. Some facilities offer both options such as Serenity Hospice & Palliative Care.

If you decide to use a hospice or Palliative Care Program you are not choosing a slow suicide for your loved ones. You are choosing to provide the best comfort for the end of life as possible, allowing your loved ones to meet the end of life with grace rather than with a battery of tests and treatment.

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