Do you, or someone you love, have a serious illness? If so, you may wish you were spending more time enjoying life, and less time coping with pain, stress or other symptoms. Palliative care can help.
Palliative care is an extra layer of support for you, your family and your doctors. It will help manage your pain and symptoms. It will help you understand your treatment options. And it will help you cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with a serious illness.
You can get palliative care at the same time as treatment for your disease, so that you can live as well as possible. It is a team approach to care that puts you back in control of your life.
It doesn’t matter how old you are. You should have palliative care as early in your serious illness as possible – even from the point of diagnosis. Palliative care can help you with cancer, congestive heart failure, lung disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and many more.
Palliative care can help you find relief from pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. It can treat constipation, nausea and loss of appetite. It can help you sleep and overcome depression. It can also help you cope with your medical treatments. Managing these symptoms can give you the strength you need to carry on with your daily life.
You don’t have to wait until your symptoms become serious to ask for palliative care. In fact, the sooner you ask for it, the better for you and your family.
So how does it work?
Palliative care is a medical specialty. It is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and other specialists who work with your other doctors. Your palliative care team will spend as much time as needed with you and your family to learn about what you need and what you want out of life. They will help you understand your options for treatment, and they will help you talk to your other doctors about your choices and build a plan for your care. Your palliative care team will also help your loved ones cope while they care for you, so that your family can have a well-deserved break.
Your disease does not run your life, you do. Take back control and ask your doctor about palliative care.
David, a devoted family man, is a colorectal cancer survivor who suffered from complications as a result of his treatment. After repeated visits to the emergency room to deal with the pain, David asked for palliative care. His primary goal was to remain at home to enjoy quality time with his family. David’s palliative care team helps manage his pain but also provides psycho-social support for him and his family. Thanks to his palliative care treatment, David is now able to enjoy life at home as he continues his recovery. For more palliative care videos, visit the Get Palliative Care YouTube Channel.
This is Debbie’s palliative care story. Debbie is a hair dresser, a business owner and a proud grandmother diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Debbie was in a great amount of pain while receiving treatment for her illness. Then she found palliative care and as a result is back to work doing what she loves. Debbie’s palliative care team treats the pain and stress caused by her illness. For more information on how palliative care can help treat the symptoms of Multiple Myeloma, click here.
As part of its ongoing educational efforts to increase the public’s understanding of palliative care, CAPC has released a video animation that defines and explains what palliative care is and how it supports people facing serious illness.
This video – among the first of its kind on this subject – compares people facing serious illness to a bridge that needs support. While a serious illness may weaken the foundation, the palliative care team provides that necessary layer of support.
Waving from the saddle of a camel. Jet skiing to the Statue of Liberty. Climbing the Great Wall of China.
This is what you’ll find Amy Berman—who was diagnosed with stage IV inflammatory breast cancer in October, 2010—doing these days. Since choosing palliative care and remaining in control of her own medical decisions, Amy says she is enjoying a “full life” of work, travel and quality time with loved ones.
“I did something so simple yet so rarely done. I chose the road less taken, and it led to better health, better care, and significantly lower cost,” said Amy in a recent Health Affairs blog post. Amy is a Senior Program Officer at the John J. Hartford Foundation, a proud mother and a staunch advocate of how palliative care can benefit anyone facing serious illness as well as their families. This is Amy’s story, in her own images, as a reminder of how palliative care empowers patients and families to match their goals with the care they receive.
Dr. Diane E. Meier is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC,) a national organization devoted to increasing the number and quality of palliative care programs in the United States.
In this video, Dr. Meier discusses 10 important steps in palliative care from over a decade of research. This video will serve as a valuable training tool and guide for medical professionals and their families.
Under her leadership the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals has more than doubled in the last 5 years.