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How Palliative Care Can Reduce Suffering For Seniors

How Palliative Care Can Reduce Suffering for Seniors

Palliative care is designed to improve quality of life and reduce pain and suffering for those with serious or life-threatening illnesses. It provides relief from the symptoms of the illness and helps to reduce the stress that comes from coping with rigorous medical treatments. Palliative care adds a layer of support to the patient’s care plan, can improve overall well-being for the patient’s family and reduce great amounts of suffering. It can also reduce hospitalizations and lower the cost of healthcare for the patient and family.

Palliative care is not something to shy away from. It can provide comfort when it is most needed. It’s delivered by a team of specially trained physicians, nurses and other types of clinical specialists. They work in concert with the patient’s primary care doctor or specialist to provide support in addition to the medical care the patient is receiving. Patients at any age and any stage of a serious illness can receive palliative care. likens palliative care to a bridge. When life is going well and illness is not present, an individual’s bridge is strong and can support the weight of many of life’s events. However, when illness is present, that bridge can begin to crumble under the weight of adverse symptoms and stress. Palliative care shores up that bridge, providing strength, support and comfort to get through the illness and cope with pain and difficult treatments.

Palliative care treatments are provided to people with many different types of illness including, but not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Palliative care treats many of the signs and symptoms of disease in order to ease the pain and make it easier for the patient to engage in daily activities. It can treat symptoms including but not limited to:

  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety

Many patients and their families try to cope with these symptoms on their own. That can be difficult because those efforts are made on top of the stress and strain caused by the very presence of the illness. Palliative care can bring experienced staff who can help ease these symptoms in support of the patient and his or her family.

It’s important to remember that palliative care can be added to ongoing medical care at any point in time, such as when home care is introduced for a senior loved one. Home care is designed to improve quality of life for the senior, allowing them to remain in their home with the support they need. A specific palliative care plan can be added to the care plan for the senior. Not only does it bring people to the home who know how to ease pain, but it provides other types of support that make daily life easier for the senior while he or she copes with illness.

As you provide care and support for your loved one, remember to ask his or her physician about palliative care. It can help to ease pain and stress and improve quality of life each day.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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