Palliative Care

Palliative Care is not Hospice

The palliative care nurse spoke with me and explained that this form of care was not hospice.  Whereas hospice excludes life extending treatments, palliative care would coexist with treatments intended to extend life or pursue a cure.  Additionally, I have learned that palliative care can potentially provide a number of benefits for any stage of illness or disease.

What is Palliative Care?

The video below is from Get Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care – An Introduction for Patients and their Families

Video below is from Cancer.Net

Recurrence of Cancer

My mother found out she had a recurrence of cancer with the upsetting discovery of a rather large tumor.  She was admitted to the hospital immediately.  Three days later, she had a heart attack.

After a few weeks in the hospital, she was released to a rehab facility for care and observation.  The hope for her was to become well enough to go home.  However, it was clear that she was going to need various kinds of help as her cancer symptoms and treatments continued in the days ahead.

Palliative Care for my Mother

While my mother was in the hospital, we met with a palliative care nurse.  This was a very hopeful option for us.  The palliative care nurse was to be the point of contact for symptom management and quality of life going forward.  As I said before, this was not hospice.  This was an important part of the life extending treatments she was receiving.

NOTE: Link to ASCO Palliative Care PDF here.

I was not aware of or exposed to  palliative care before my mother’s cancer.  As a result of my experience with her situation, I have developed positive feelings towards the options that palliative care can potentially provide.

Note:  My mother’s advanced cancer took a turn for the worse before we could get real life experience with the palliative care she was to receive.  Therefore, I am unable to offer any opinion of how well this care worked for my mother.  I realize this kind of care can sometimes be a source of contention.  However, we felt this was a positive alternative for my mother’s specific situation.  I decided to include palliative care information because it seemed that it would have been very hopeful and beneficial for her, if her body had not been overcome by her incurable disease.

Additional Information

Information below discusses palliative care.  The first quote is from GetPalliativeCare.org.  Their definition emphasizes the fact that palliative care can be for anyone in any stage of illness.  The second quote and video is from nia.nih.gov.

Quote Below From GetPalliativeCare.org


Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

Link to webpage quoted here


 

Quote Below From nia.nih.gov


Palliative care is a resource for anyone living with a serious illness, such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. Palliative care can be helpful at any stage of illness and is best provided from the point of diagnosis.

In addition to improving quality of life and helping with symptoms, palliative care can help patients understand their choices for medical treatment. The organized services available through palliative care may be helpful to any older person having a lot of general discomfort and disability very late in life. Palliative care can be provided along with curative treatment and does not depend on prognosis.

Link to webpage quoted here


Information and Differences – Palliative Care and Hospice

Video below is from NIHSeniorHealth