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Is Palliative Care Right For You?

Could you benefit from palliative care? Perhaps you have heard of the term or even had it recommended to you- but are confused about how this service works or can support you during your treatment. The suggestion for palliative can even raise alarm for individuals unaware of the process, who may confuse it for the more common hospice care. However, palliative care can be a wonderful resource for individuals dealing with a serious illness in need of assistance.

Palliative care is a comprehensive treatment for the discomfort, stress, and symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care is an approach to care that addresses the person as a whole, not just their disease. The goal is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, in addition to any related psychological, social, and spiritual problems.

The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

While the goal of both palliative care and hospice care is comfort, they are not the same. Palliative care is designed to support your treatment and can begin as early as your diagnosis. The goal of this form of care is to provide you relief while your condition improves. Hospice, however, is typically started after treatment has been stopped, and is focused on providing you comfort and support through the end of life stages. Hospice does not include life-prolonging medications or a continued treatment plan; palliative care includes both life-prolonging medications and works hand-in-hand with your treatment plan.

The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of your life while dealing with a life-altering diagnosis. At the Gwinnett Medical Cancer Support Center, your palliative needs are assessed by a team of individuals, made up of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers and additional resource specialists. This team approach is designed to ensure that your physical, spiritual, and emotional needs are being met throughout your treatment process.

This type of care treats pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and any other symptoms that may be causing distress. Palliative care can also be an excellent source of emotional and resource support for you and your family. Your palliative care team can work hand in hand with the Center for Cancer Care to improve communication and support between the office and your home.

Palliative care is designed to help individuals cope with the changes brought on by a cancer diagnosis. While palliative care does address the physical components of a diagnosis, it also digs deeper into the emotional, psychological, and spiritual implications as well. A cancer diagnosis can be life-altering in many ways- both for you, and your family. Early palliative care intervention can help relieve some of the anxiety and emotional issues that can arise from a diagnosis. Additionally- if more physical intervention is needed, palliative care can provide the resources needed to reduce the impact a diagnosis can have on family members or care givers. This can help reduce stress for all individuals involved, and help you and your family focus on spending more meaningful and fulfilling time together.

Palliative care can be a wonderful resource for individuals in treatment in need of physical, emotional, or spiritual support. If you think you may be a good candidate for this form of care, speak with your Center for Cancer Care oncologist about the option at your next visit. Once you have spoken to your doctor, you can schedule an appointment with the palliative care specialist at the Cancer Support Center. The palliative clinic hours at Tuesday, 8am-12 and Thursday 12-4. Call 678-312-3100 to schedule an appointment today.

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