Understanding Palliative Care

Understanding Palliative Care 

Palliative care is an emerging medical specialty focused on improving overall quality of life for people with serious illness and their families.  LightBridge Medical Associates embraces the Center to Advance Palliative Care’s definition of Palliative Care:

“Palliative Care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness – whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.  Palliative Care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to form an extra layer of support.  It is appropriate at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.”

The Value of Palliative Care

Palliative Care is patient- and family-centered care that prioritizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating symptoms associated with serious illness while addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Generally, palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists working together alongside a patient’s primary care physician to provide an extra layer of support, regardless of a patient’s age or stage of illness. Studies show palliative care results in better patient and family satisfaction, improved home safety and medication management, and can be provided along with curative treatment, helping patients, families and caregivers through challenging times.

Palliative Care is ideal for patients with serious illness who need additional support with:

• Symptoms that have been difficult to manage (pain, nausea, shortness of breath, etc.) 

• Improving quality of life for both patients and their families

• Clarifying goals of care that reflect your individual priorities and wishes

• Education and consultation on symptom management

• Advanced Care planning

Conditions that can benefit from Palliative Care

People living with the following conditions frequently benefit from an extra layer of support.

  • Cancer
  • Congestive Health Failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Dementia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • End-Stage Renal Disease
  • ALS

Benefits of Palliative Care

Recent studies show that patients who receive palliative care report improved:

◦       Management of distressing symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, and pain.
◦       Enhanced communication with their doctors and family members.
◦       Emotional support.