What Happens in Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a buzzword today in health care. It refers to all the necessary health care services provided to patients with long-term illnesses to ease their pain and bring them comfort.

When do you provide palliative care services?

Palliative care can be combined with curative treatment. While the medical side works with fighting illness, the palliative works with making the patient feel comforted and cared for. The patient will voice her wishes and palliative care administrators will work to provide them.

These services are called for when the patient has a long-term illness but is not yet terminal. This means that it can be provided for any patient of any age at any stage of serious illness.

The palliative care team is comprised of doctors, nurses and other specially trained staff members who oversee the care plan. Their main agenda is to work with the curative care team and respect the patient’s wishes for her greatest quality of life. The palliative goals are to meet the patient’s personal needs and relive her symptoms, providing a greater sense of comfort while she meets the challenges of serious illness. This includes meetings with a social worker to set out and then coordinate a plan – types of pain relief, religious guidance if she so chooses, and protocols for communicating with the healthcare team. A well-structured effort can bring significant relief to a patient, which can ultimately aid in faster and more efficient healing.

What are the costs?

Right now, as the population ages, the number of Americans with long-term illnesses is growing. Providing healthcare services for this population is incredibly costly, and the bulk of it, about two-thirds, is covered my Medicare. But with more palliative care services, and better quality of life, experts expect overall health care costs for each patient to decrease. Not only will better options, coordinating care with the patient’s wishes, result in increased quality of life for the patient, but it may cut costs drastically as the patient’s health improves. Matching the right care to what the patient wants decreases unnecessary expenditures that don’t work.

Palliative care vs. hospice care

Though there are similarities, hospice care and palliative care have a significant difference. Hospice care is devoted to keeping the terminal patient comfortable. Palliative care, in contrast, can work in tandem with goal-based curative care services, with the specific agenda of meeting their wishes and keeping them in comfort during an illness with an eye toward recovery.

Sometimes, a patient receiving treatment along with palliative care will get a terminal diagnoses. In that case, the palliative care team will switch to hospice care.

At the Alameda Center for Rehabilitation, we offer excellent palliative care services for patients who are still in treatment. Our staff of caring and expert doctors, nurses, therapists, and social workers work with patients to create a plan that seeks to meet the wishes and needs of the patient and reduce pain and other symptoms, communicating throughout the duration. Speak to one of our representatives today to see how we can help you.

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