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Palliative Care and Chronic Conditions

Palliative Care and Chronic Conditions

Living with serious health conditions can be overwhelming for both patients and their families. When health conditions cause major pain and suffering, people often don’t know how to cope. Palliative Care, also known as Supportive Care, is a solution which can help make life more manageable.

What is Palliative Care?

Not to be confused with hospice care, palliative care aims to relieve the suffering of patients with serious health conditions. These patients are often very ill and their treatments can be very stressful. That can make it hard to function well in everyday life. Palliative care is a relatively new medical specialty which is designed to coordinate the needs of sick patients. It’s available at the same time as curative treatments providing an added level of support. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

Who Needs Palliative Care?

Many people have the misconception that palliative care is only for people who are dying or who are on hospice care. But the truth is that palliative care is appropriate for any patient with serious, or chronic health conditions that are expected to be long-lasting; and unlike hospice, the patient can continue curative treatment. Examples of the conditions that can benefit from palliative care include the following:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
  • Kidney disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cancer
  • ALS

How does Palliative Care can Benefit CHF/COPD Patients?

Living with conditions like CHF/COPD can be stressful. Patients with advanced stages of these diseases not only experience a large number of physical symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing but often experience depression, insomnia, anxiety, and loneliness as well.

With Palliative Care, a specialized team works together with the heart or lung specialists. The specialist focuses on the medical treatment of the disease itself while the palliative care team carefully manages the patient’s symptoms and side effects. For example, for patients with COPD, the palliative care team can instruct the patient on relaxation or breathing exercises to increase oxygen in the blood. Since chronic illnesses require changes in lifestyle for patients and families, palliative care specialists can help educate on how to stay healthy during the course of the disease.

If you are living with a chronic condition or life-threatening illness, ask your doctor for a referral for palliative care. To learn more about Assisted or our Palliative/Supportive Care Management Program, call 800-949-6555 or visit us at www.AssistedCares.com.

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