When patients or families are dealing with a severe illness, they sometimes need extra help with medical or emotional issues. Palliative care provides that extra layer of support. This can include physical, emotional, or practical assistance, such as help with treatment decisions or managing symptoms. Palliative care can be helpful at any stage of a serious illness, whether someone is just diagnosed or nearing the end of life.
“Why didn’t we choose palliative care sooner?”—This is a common statement from patients and family members with palliative care experience. Family members often tell us they delayed care because they didn’t know about the specialty or didn’t realize when care was appropriate. However, once they choose palliative care, they wish they had started sooner.
Palliative care is integral to comprehensive healthcare for people with severe illnesses. Whether you have recently been diagnosed with a serious condition or have been living with one for some time, palliative care can provide the support and assistance you need. Reach out to Compassus today at 833.380.9583 to better understand who needs palliative care and when to receive this important form of care.
What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative care helps people with serious illnesses feel better—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It focuses on improving the quality of life at any stage of a disease and can be offered with curative treatment.
While palliative care can be helpful anytime, it can be crucial for patients facing serious or terminal illnesses. These patients may have complex medical needs and need support to navigate difficult decisions about their treatment options. This level of care begins with a straightforward conversation about your needs and goals. Some of the needs addressed by palliative care include:
- Addressing complex pain
- Managing other symptoms (shortness of breath, loss of appetite, constipation, sleeping problems, and many more)
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Care coaching for family members
- Spiritual support
- Coordination of care with your doctors
Palliative care can begin at any age and any stage of an illness. Numerous studies show that patients getting timely palliative care report a higher quality of life scores and services more closely aligned with their priorities. Care can be provided in a hospital, nursing facility, or anywhere a patient calls home.
When Does Someone Need Palliative Care?
Palliative care can be a significant and valuable form of healthcare that helps alleviate the pain and suffering of those who are going through a severe illness or terminal diagnosis. It focuses on providing comfort and support for all aspects of the illness, including emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Although any patient can benefit from palliative care regardless of age, diagnosis, or prognosis, it is normally recommended when the person has a life-limiting illness that is not expected to go away anytime soon.
It allows patients to gain control over their medical condition through symptom management and increasing communication between patients, family, and medical personnel. Palliative care can help people make important decisions about how they want to live their remaining days comfortably and with peace of mind.
Potential Barriers to Palliative Care Patients
While palliative care can be a powerful tool in helping people dealing with a serious illness navigate their health journey, there are several potential barriers that patients and caregivers may encounter. These barriers can include the following:
- Lack of awareness about palliative care, who needs it, and when it is appropriate
- Prohibitive costs associated with treatment or transportation to care facilities
- Concerns about who will care for the patient at home during treatment
- Fear and anxiety about entering a palliative care facility, especially if you are suffering from a terminal illness
- Difficulty accessing or navigating the health system to establish and maintain palliative care relationships
A significant barrier for a patient and their family is paying for care. However, many insurance policies cover palliative care after a doctor’s referral, and Medicare benefits include a free consultation for most patients. Benefits provided by the Veteran’s Administration also include palliative care coverage. Because palliative care is a recent medical specialty, some hospitals or nursing facilities may have difficulty providing access to care. Reaching out to our staff at our locations offering palliative care can provide your family with palliative care information and offer options.
Learn More About Palliative Care at Compassus
Understanding who needs palliative care and when is vital in getting the necessary support. At Compassus, we offer palliative care services to patients facing serious illnesses who want to focus on their quality of life at every stage of their condition. Our palliative care team is dedicated to providing customized, comprehensive support that aligns with your specific needs and goals. Whether you need pain management or help to navigate challenging emotions, we are here for you every step of the way. To learn more about who needs palliative care and how our team can help, contact us today at 833.380.9583.