Palliative care – the importance of a comprehensive team approach

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Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses such as cancers, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s, and more. Jordan Valley Medical Center and Kashif Memon, MD knows this type of care is sensitive and requires a team approach.

Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and mental stress that often come with serious illness. A team of physicians, nurses, and other specialists work together to improve quality of life for the patient. 

One misconception of palliative care is that it is synonymous with hospice care. Unlike hospice care, palliative care does not depend on prognosis. Although palliative care can encompass end-of-life care, it is also appropriate for patients who are living with a chronic or complex illness, whether they are expected to fully recover or not. 

Who might benefit from palliative care? 
Palliative care is for patients of any age and at any stage of an illness. If a patient is experiencing pain, physical and emotional distress, or other symptoms due to any serious illness, they might consider palliative care. Some of the illnesses might include:
– Cancer
– Heart disease
– Chronic lung disease
– Kidney disease
– Alzheimer’s
– Multiple sclerosis

What is involved in palliative care?
Palliative care can involve treatment and management of pain, depression and anxiety, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, bowel or bladder problems, shortness of breath, mental confusion, and difficulty sleeping. This type of care also involves close communication with the palliative care team to help the patient understand treatment options and gain control over their own care. 

A patient can start palliative care at any stage of illness, but the earlier the care begins, the better. If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious, chronic, or life-threatening illness, palliative care can offer relief and enhance your quality of life.

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