It’s understandable that many people, including healthcare professionals, may not fully understand the true nature of palliative care. However, Dr. Steve Pantilat, a prominent US palliative care physician, has explained that it’s not just about end-of-life care.
Palliative care teams offer an added layer of support for individuals dealing with serious illnesses.
They provide physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual assistance throughout the patient’s journey, helping them to live as well as possible. Palliative care isn’t exclusively about helping patients die peacefully, but also involves supporting them from the beginning of their illness until the end.
As Robin Bennett Kanarek, a palliative care expert and advocate, points out, the word palliative originates from Latin, meaning “to cloak.” This image accurately reflects the comforting support that palliative care provides.
The primary goal of palliative care isn’t to convince patients to forego treatment and transition to hospice care. Rather, through honest, open, and unrushed conversations, palliative care teams assist patients in making treatment decisions that align with their desired quality of life. This may involve fighting to prolong life using all available treatments.
More support is needed for patients
It’s hard to imagine how difficult it must be for individuals suffering from chronic illnesses like cancer, dementia, ALS, Parkinson’s, and heart, lung, liver, and kidney disease. While it’s true that modern healthcare has allowed many people to live longer, it’s important to remember that this can also mean longer periods of debilitating illness and highly stressful living conditions.
As a compassionate and caring helper, there is a need for palliative care in these situations, and I’m here to support you in any way that
“Unlike other providers, palliative care experts train rigorously to care emotionally, spiritually, and physically for patients—and their loved ones—with distressing long-term diagnoses.
Most palliative care patients eventually die from their disease, but often after years of living with the condition and receiving disease-focused treatment,” according to the latest notes.
“Teams providing supportive care, another term for palliative care, specialize in walking the entire journey with patients and their loved ones up through their final days when they transition to hospice. Hospice is indeed end-of-life care, but palliative care as a whole offers a wider scope.”
The advantages of palliative care are remarkable. It can help patients live better and longer, enabling them to spend more time with their loved ones. The crucial factor is to initiate supportive care sooner rather than later.
According to the authors of a study, for palliative care services to have a significant impact on patients’ quality of life and end-of-life care, it is necessary to provide them earlier in the disease’s course.
Dr. Pantilat and other supportive care specialists define “early” as “at the time of diagnosis.”