Consumer health basics (12)
- Organ donation: Don't let these myths confuse you
- Health savings accounts: Is an HSA right for you?
- Palliative care: Symptom relief during illness
- see all in Consumer health basics
Alternative medicine (13)
- Mindfulness exercises: How to get started
- Pet therapy: Man's best friend as healer
- Herbal supplements may not mix with heart medicines
- see all in Alternative medicine
- Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips
- Buying prescription drugs online: The do's and don'ts
- Personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics
- see all in Medications
Palliative care: Symptom relief during illness
How does palliative care work?
Palliative care can be provided throughout treatment for a serious illness — whether you or your loved one is being treated on an outpatient basis or in a hospital or a nursing home. This type of treatment can be provided by various specialists, including doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, chaplains, registered dietitians, pharmacists and rehabilitation specialists.
A palliative care specialist works with the primary care doctor and a team of other health care professionals to create a treatment plan that eases symptoms, relieves pain, addresses spiritual and psychological concerns, and helps maintain dignity and comfort.
A palliative care specialist can also help you or your loved one communicate with doctors and family members and create a smooth transition between the hospital and home care or nursing facilities. The palliative care team will educate you and your family members about what to expect and schedule routine meetings to discuss ongoing care throughout the course of your illness.
What are some real-life examples of palliative care?
Here's one example of how palliative care works: You have a history of heart failure and are increasingly short of breath, which makes it hard for you to do even simple chores around the house. You live at home with a partner who also has health problems. You find that getting all of the care you and your partner need is becoming more difficult, and you're not sure how to plan for the future. This has been stressful for you and your family physically, psychologically, spiritually and financially.
Your primary care doctor suggests that you consider palliative care and explains that a palliative care team will work with you to determine how to ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
How can I learn more about palliative care?
If you're interested in obtaining palliative care for yourself or a loved one, ask your doctor or your loved one's doctor about palliative care options and if a program is available in your area.Previous page
(2 of 2)
- Grant M, et al. Current status of palliative care - Clinical implementation, education, and research. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2009;59:327.
- Clary PL, et al. Pharmacologic pearls for end-of-life care. American Family Physician. 2009;79:1059.
- Bradley CT, et al. Developing guidelines that identify patients who could benefit from palliative care services in the surgical intensive care unit. Critical Care Medicine. 2009;47:946.
- Teno JM, et al. Referring a patient and family to high-quality palliative care at the close of life. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;301:651.
- Palliative care: The relief you need when you're experiencing the symptoms of serious illness. National Institute of Nursing Research. http://www.ninr.nih.gov/NewsAndInformation/NINRPublications. Accessed Dec. 18, 2012.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 18, 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. Palliative care and end-of-life hospice. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Meier DE, et al. Palliative care: Benefits, services, and models of care. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Dec. 18, 2012.