Jul 17, 2017 by Glenn Savage
Palliative care is designed to improve the quality of a senior's life when they are suffering from serious injuries, chronic illnesses, and progressive diseases. Unlike hospice care, which can only be utilized during the final months of life, serious illness care can be started at any time. In fact, the earlier seniors start palliative services, the greater the chances of reducing pain, improving overall health, and increasing the quality of life.
Palliative care is a team approach to increasing a senior's comfort. Specialized caregivers include doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, clergy, and non-medical care providers. In addition to addressing the physical symptoms of a condition, the palliative care team strives to improve a senior's understanding of what is going on so they can best communicate their desires.
When first being diagnosed with a serious condition, serious illness care services increase and enhance the level of communication between a senior and their care providers. An initial diagnosis of a serious condition can be quite overwhelming and few people are able to handle it outright. Many times, seniors will return home and not remember much of what they were told let alone be able to make effective or informed decisions.
Dr. Steven Pantilat is an expert in palliative care. He notes, "A diagnosis of serious illness can be incredibly frightening. It can be bewildering to think about how to move forward. The important message is that you can move forward to get really good care...making sure that the decisions you do make are based on real evidence and real information.”
In short, serious illness care does not replace primary treatment or care. Instead, it works side-by-side to ensure a senior understands their condition, the options that are available to them, and what steps they have the option to take. By helping lift the immense burden of everything being dropped on the senior's shoulders at once, palliative services help seniors look at their condition a little at a time and from different perspectives. While this does not remove the seriousness of the condition or diagnosis, it does help to lower the stress and anxiety associated with it.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious or long-term condition and you have further questions about how palliative care can enhance their health, well-being, and overall quality of life, contact a Comfort Keepers senior care coordinator today.