Diseases can strike us at any time. Unfortunately, our bodies may have a hard time responding to treatment and palliative care provides a good option for those who are having trouble combatting chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
Palliative care relieves the symptoms of diseases and disorders, even if they are incurable. Not to be confused with hospice care, which is a form of palliative care that is designed for people who have six months or less to live, palliative care helps improve the quality of life for people no matter what stage of their illness they’re in.
Whether you are looking into palliative care for yourself or a loved one, it is important to consider certain factors before deciding on a caregiver.
Here are five things to look for in palliative care:
In Canada, in order to provide this type of care the organization needs to be licensed and accredited by a nationally recognized body. The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) offers resources on this topic and their site can help you find out if federal funding is available for the type of program you’re looking for.
Palliative care should be provided by a doctor who specializes in palliative medicine along with a team that comprises a nurse, psychologist/social worker and dietician. It is very important that the doctor is a palliative specialist, because the main point of this type of care is to alleviate suffering and improve quality of life and the physician will need exclusive training in this field.
Furthermore, a social worker or psychologist plays an important role in palliative care because your mental health is equally as essential as your physical health.
The amount of involvement your family has in palliative care should depend on you. If a palliative care provider is deciding how much your family can see you (or how much your loved one in care can see their family) it’s best not to go with that organization. When you are suffering from a life-threatening or chronic illness, your palliative care team is there to help, not keep you away from your family.
You probably have a long-standing relationship with your general practitioner, and there’s no need to sever those strong ties just because palliative care is an option. You should be able to still see your doctor even when you are using this type of care. If your palliative doctor doesn’t coordinate with your GP, you should find another palliative team.
No! Just because you are looking for palliative care for yourself or a loved one does not mean that you’re throwing in the towel. Palliative care is going to make you or your loved one’s remaining years comfortable and the illness more manageable.
Contact C-Care Health Services for more information about palliative care.
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