Easing the Journey with Supportive Care

Posted on

Nov 04, 2019

Palliative (pal-lee-uhtiv) care is a medical specialty for people of any age living with a chronic or serious illness. It is sometimes referred to as supportive care. The focus of palliative medicine is relieving pain and distressing symptoms, providing resources and helping patients and families plan for the time ahead.
Palliative care starts with a question: Whats important to you? Some patients want to feel well enough to attend a wedding or family reunion. Others want to continue working, or to enjoy simple pleasures, such as a meal with friends. Patients may desire help planning around treatment, to mitigate side effects and have more energy for everyday life.
The palliative team creates a plan to meet the patients goals. Care typically is provided by a palliative nurse practitioner (NP), who works with a patients existing physicians (including specialists), providing an added layer of care that considers a patients whole picture.
The NP is skilled at managing complex symptoms and staying on top of them as conditions change. This can include treating nausea, shortness of breath, neuropathic pain, sleeplessness, constipation and other distressing conditions. The goal is helping people feel well enough to participate in their lives to the fullest extent.
Living with illness can be a hard road. Palliative care serves to ease the journey for patients and their families.
When is the right time for palliative care? For someone living with a chronic or serious illness, such as cancer, COPD, or diabetes, the answer is: Today. Studies have shown that those receiving early palliative care not only have improved quality of life, but less depression and in some cases, longer overall life expectancy.
Palliative care is typically covered by private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid and provided wherever a patient resides. To access this specialty care, patients can talk to their physician or call the referral department of a palliative care provider.
Editors note: This article was submitted by Kelly Bastian, FNP-C, Managing Director of Agape Palliative Care and may be reached at 720-482-1988 or by email at kbastian@agape-healthcare.com.

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