Understanding Palliative Care: What It Is, And Why It Matters

March 11, 2024

Palliative care is a specialized approach to healthcare aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals facing serious, although not necessarily terminal, illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress associated with the illness, irrespective of the diagnosis or prognosis. In this article, we explore what palliative care is, how it benefits patients, and options for receiving palliative care at home.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is different from normal medical care in that it addresses physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs rather than curing the medical condition. For example, treatments for chronic pain that involve palliative care will focus on alleviating symptoms with therapy, drugs or other methods, but not on curing the source of the pain. This approach may be chosen by the patient and doctor either because the condition is incurable, or because treatments such as surgical intervention or chemotherapy may come with undesirable risks or side effects. Other conditions that may require palliative care include heart, liver, or other organ failure, HIV/AIDs, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, or other advanced-stage illnesses.

Unlike hospice care, which is primarily focused on end-of-life care, palliative care can be provided at any stage of a serious illness. Patients can still receive curative treatments alongside palliative care as a separate care process. 

Benefits Of Palliative Care

  • Pain and symptom management: By controlling symptoms such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue, palliative care enhances the patient’s comfort and quality of life.
  • Emotional and psychological support: Palliative care involves counseling, emotional support, and assistance with coping strategies for patients and their families.
  • Improved communication: Palliative care is a collaborative effort that encourages patients, families, and healthcare providers to communicate openly and productively, ensuring that treatment goals and preferences are understood and respected.
  • Support for caregivers: Palliative care extends support to caregivers, providing education, respite care, and assistance in navigating the healthcare system.

Palliative Care At Home

The primary goal of palliative care is to alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family. That is why most people prefer to receive palliative care at home, where they are most comfortable and closest to their loved ones. Because of its focus on comfort and quality of life, palliative care can often be carried out by family members of the patient, who act as home care aides, while healthcare professionals, such as nurses or therapists, contribute as needed to manage symptoms and administer medications. The many benefits of home care should not be ignored. Being at home allows patients to remain in familiar surroundings, surrounded by loved ones, which can contribute significantly to their overall well-being.

Can I Get Paid For Providing Palliative Care At Home?

A patient’s preferences are essential to palliative care, and many programs allow patients to choose their caregivers, including family members. Many people naturally take on care duties for their sick relatives out of love. Although being a caregiver can be demanding, family caregivers can find support with Nova Home Care.

At Nova Home Care, we believe no one takes care of family like family, which is why we offer support for palliative care caregivers by employing them through our agency. Benefits for caregivers include a competitive salary, paid vacations, and healthcare benefits.

If you’re considering palliative care for a family member in Indiana, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, or Connecticut, then Nova Home Care may be able to help you. Our services are free for people on Medicaid, and we will compensate family caregivers for providing non-medical palliative care services such as personal care, homemaking, companionship, and transportation. If you are unsure whether you qualify for Medicaid or want to learn more about support for family caregivers, complete our referral form, and our compassionate team will reach out to assist you.

At Nova Home Care, we make sure that every client gets a personalized care plan that covers all their needs. If the patient requires specialized care, our care coordinators can arrange for skilled nursing services to complement the home care plan. 

Our philosophy of palliative care prioritizes the individual’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, ensuring comfort and support in the client’s beloved home. Let us be your partner in care during challenging times. Contact Nova Home Care today to learn more about our palliative care services and how we can support you or your loved one at home.

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