Get Palliative Blog

Palliative care helps your doctor, too

March, 2015

When you have a serious illness like cancer or heart disease, your relationship with your doctor is important. It’s so important that many patients worry their doctor will be upset if they ask for extra help to cope with pain or other symptoms.

The truth is that doctors are glad to have an extra layer of support. Why? Because it helps them focus on fighting your underlying illness.

Doctors know their patients will do better if they have less pain and well-managed symptoms. Patients also cope better if they have in-depth communication about their options for medical treatments and how those match their personal goals. But specialists for cancer or heart disease don’t always have the time or the know-how to deal with these parts of your care.

That’s where palliative care comes in.

Palliative care is a medical specialty provided by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and other specialists who work with your other doctors. Your palliative care team will work closely with you, your family and your doctors to build a plan for your care that centers on your own goals and needs.

You can get palliative care at the same time as treatment for your disease. It will help manage your pain and symptoms. It will help you understand your treatment options. And it will help you, and your family, cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with a serious illness.

Your doctor will be relieved to have a palliative care team focused on improving your symptoms and quality of life. So, if you are dealing with symptoms and side effects from your illness, just ask for a palliative care referral.

Palliative care helps manage the symptoms and stress of serious illness. How can you find it?

January, 2015

If you or a loved one have a serious illness, it can be hard to find the help that you need – even from your regular doctors.

You may have pain, shortness of breath, nausea or other symptoms. You may have unanswered questions about your illness and what the future will bring.

Palliative care can help. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people facing serious illness. It provides an extra layer of support for you, your family and your doctors. Palliative care will help manage your pain and other 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.

Our website has a directory to help you find a hospital in your area that provides palliative care. Just go to http://www.getpalliativecare.org/howtoget/ and choose your state to find a list of hospitals with palliative care services.

If you or your loved one are already in the hospital, ask your doctor for a palliative care consultation. Most large hospitals in the U.S. now have a palliative care team that will visit you and your family.

Your palliative care team will include a doctor, a nurse and social worker – all of them specialists in palliative care. Other kinds of specialists may also be brought in with the team.

There are also palliative care services to help you outside of the hospital. You may be able to get help at home, at your local doctor’s office or in your cancer center, for example. Getting support outside of the hospital can help you avoid unwanted trips to the emergency room and hospital stays.  Ask your doctor for a referral, or call your local hospital palliative care team for more information.

You and your loved ones deserve to have the best quality of life possible while dealing with a serious illness.  That’s why it’s important to get palliative care.

Do you have a serious illness? Palliative care can help.

December, 2014

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’s Palliative Care Story

November, 2014

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.

 

 

Debbie’s Palliative Care Story

October, 2014

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.

 

Palliative Care: YOU are a BRIDGE

September, 2014

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.

Major funding for this campaign is provided by the Cambia Health Foundation.

 

Palliative Care: We are the quarterbacks of our care

July, 2014

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.