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When is Palliative Care Appropriate?

Palliative Care: Support for Patients and Caregivers

If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious, long-lasting disease or with a life-threatening illness, palliative care can make your life — and the lives of those who care for you — much easier.

Palliative care can be performed along with the care you receive from your primary doctors.

With palliative care, there is a focus on relieving pain and other troubling symptoms and meeting your emotional, spiritual, and practical needs. In short, this new medical specialty aims to improve your quality of life — however you define that for yourself.

Your palliative care providers will work with you to identify and carry out your goals: symptom relief, counseling, spiritual comfort, or whatever enhances your quality of life. Palliative care can also help you to understand all of your treatment options.

One of the strengths of palliative care is recognition of the human side of illness. In a 2011 survey of palliative care patients, they mentioned these particular needs: “being recognized as a person,” “having a choice and being in control,” “being connected to family and the world outside,” “being spiritually connected,” and “physical comfort.”

When can I start palliative care?

You may start palliative care at any stage of your illness, even as soon as you receive a diagnosis and begin treatment. You don’t have to wait until your disease has reached an advanced stage or when you’re in the final months of life. In fact, the earlier you start palliative care, the better.

Read more at WebMD .

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