Are you or a loved one facing a serious illness? Palliative Care can help. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in your illness, and you can have it along with curative treatment. The goal is to relieve symptoms and stress and improve your quality of life.

Upcoming Webinar: Managing Lung Cancer Symptoms and Improving Quality of Life

Register Here

Date/Time
Wednesday, August 8
12 – 1 pm ET

Featured Presenter
Andy Esch, MD, MBA

Webinar Description
If you or a loved one is living with lung cancer, you already know there can be difficult side effects and symptoms caused by the disease and its treatment.  Many linger and persist afterwards as well.

Symptoms and side effects can interfere with quality of life, daily life, and activities. They can even make it difficult to continue with the recommended course of treatment.  But there are ways to manage these challenges to make sure that you and your family live life to the fullest from the time of diagnosis onward. Join us for a free Webinar to learn more!

Who Should Attend
Anyone with lung cancer, and their caregivers

About the Presenter
Dr. Esch is medical education consultant to the Center to Advance Palliative Care. A palliative care specialist, Dr. Esch focuses on improving the quality of life for patients and their families as they face serious illness. Dr. Esch earned his medical degree from the University of Buffalo.

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Quality of life after stroke. The role of palliative care.

May 27, 2018

Strokes can be life-changing events with serious physical and emotional consequences. If you, or someone you love, has suffered from stroke, you may be struggling to take it all in and feel lost in the maze of decisions for your future medical care. Palliative care can help.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness, including stroke. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for patients and their families, by treating the pain, symptoms and distress of the illness. It is provided by a team of palliative care doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with all of your other doctors. It is available at the same time as all other treatments, providing patients and their families with an added layer of support.

Your palliative care team will take the time to talk to you and your family about what is important to you, and help you understand what you can expect from your recovery. Your preferences, needs and values will provide a roadmap for your medical decisions. Your palliative care team will help you and your family understand the benefits and risks for your treatment options and will work with your other doctors to make sure your care lines up with your goals. If you are making decisions for a loved one after a stroke, your palliative care team will also help you communicate with other family members.

Palliative care includes support for families who need to make difficult decisions about life-sustaining treatments like surgery, feeding tubes and breathing machines. It also includes support for planning rehabilitation after a stroke and coordinating the care you choose. For example, what is the right mix of speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy to give you quality of life? Are there other therapies, such as meditation or music therapy, that could help you achieve your goals?

Social workers on the palliative care team can also help you and your family with decisions about where you want to live and be cared for. Depending on how much care you need, options could include living at home with home health care, assisted living residences, skilled nursing or acute rehabilitation facilities. Your social worker will help you understand exactly what is provided at each level of care, including what Medicare will pay for.

Palliative care doctors are experts in complex symptom management. As well as treating physical symptoms, such as pain from muscle spasms, they will also treat emotional symptoms. People often experience depression, anger, and anxiety after a stroke. Your palliative care team can help you cope with these feelings.

If you, or someone you love, has experienced a stroke, ask for a referral to palliative care. Getting palliative care early can make a big difference for patients and families when they need it most. Almost all large hospitals have palliative care teams, and it’s also available in outpatient clinics and for home visits, depending on your area.  

Palliative Care Helps ALS Patients Maintain Control

May 20, 2018

For people living with ALS, one of the most common fears is losing control: control over your body, and control over your life. Palliative care can help you keep as much control as possible, supporting you and your family to maintain your quality of life.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses like ALS. It focuses on treating the pain, symptoms and stress of illness, giving you and your family an added layer of support. It is provided by a team of palliative care doctors, nurses, and other specialists who will work together with you, your neurologist and other doctors to manage your symptoms and help you make important decisions as your disease progresses. You can get palliative care at any age and at any stage of your illness, and when you’re facing ALS, it’s best to get it as early as possible.

But what does this all mean in practice? If you have just received your diagnosis, your palliative care team can help you fully understand your disease and its likely course, as well as the interventions that can manage your symptoms, such as pain from muscle spasms or cramps, numbness, or the feeling of burning in the lower limbs. The team can also make sure you maintain your function and strength for as long as possible. Trouble chewing or swallowing can be a significant problem for a person with ALS, for example, and caregivers may need help to learn different ways to handle meals.

Over time and as your symptoms develop, your palliative care team will have regular, in-depth conversations with you about what’s important to you and your family. They will also help you fully explore and understand the pros and cons of different treatment choices like feeding tubes, breathing machines, and hydration. The goal is always to make sure your care matches your goals and with what you want. Whatever can be controlled, will be controlled.

If you or someone you love needs palliative care, don’t wait to ask for a referral. Early involvement of palliative care can give you the added layer of support to help you and your family enjoy the best possible quality of life.

Almost all large hospitals have palliative care teams, and it’s also available in outpatient clinics and for home visits, depending on your area. You can visit GetPalliativeCare.org to learn more, look for palliative care in the Provider Directory, and take a short quiz to see whether you might need palliative care.

Webinar: Living with Kidney Disease: Pain and Itch, and the Role of Palliative Care

Listen and watch on-demand here.

Recorded: Tue, May 15, 2018, 1:00 PM ET

Featured Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Scherer, MD, Division of Palliative Care and the Division of Nephrology at NYU School of Medicine in New York City

If you or a loved one is living with serious kidney disease, you might be struggling with symptoms such as pain and itchiness.  Read more … Read More

Living well with serious illness: Beth’s appendix cancer story

May 1, 2018

For many years, Beth, 55, of Baltimore couldn’t shake the nickname her sister and friends gave her.

“They called me Balloon Hand Beth because whenever someone needed something, my hand would float up to volunteer,” says Beth.

Beth has always been very active and willing to pitch in. In her professional life, she has worked tirelessly to improve her city’s environment one planted tree at a time as the Director of the Office of Sustainability in Baltimore. Most days, if she’s not helping out a relative or preparing to host a family holiday party, she can be found in her garden, meticulously growing her own food.

“In the garden, things don’t stay the same. Sometimes a flower doesn’t come back or you have to move things around to make it right. It’s just like life. You have to adjust to your new normal,” says Beth.

Beth has had to use this same philosophy when she was diagnosed with a rare form of stage IV appendix cancer. After multiple surgeries and chemotherapy regimens left her weak and unable to do the things she loved, for the first time in her life, Balloon Hand Beth was the one who had to ask for help. This is her palliative care story.

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Living well with sickle cell disease: Palliative care is key

April 15, 2018

If your child has sickle cell disease, you know the heart ache of watching a child in pain and unable to enjoy the simple joys of childhood. There is a way to help your child feel better and live as well as possible: ask for palliative care.

Palliative care is specialized medical treatment for people living with serious illness like sickle cell. It treats the pain, symptoms and stress of the illness, with a focus on quality of life. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and other therapists who work closely with your other doctors to give you an added layer of support, based on your needs and what’s important to you. It can be provided at the same time as all other treatments to help you feel as well as possible and live your life. If you, or your child has sickle cell disease – ask for a palliative care consultation. The earlier the better.

Palliative care doctors are experts in pain and symptom management, and the most common symptom of sickle cell is pain. The pain can occur in joints like knees, elbows and hips, as well as in organs, and it can last a few hours, days or sometimes weeks. It usually comes on suddenly. These pain crises can be bad enough to put sufferers in the hospital. Your palliative care team can help with medicines and techniques to relieve pain, relax and get some sleep. The right pain management plan for pain crises could keep you or your child out of the hospital and safely at home. This can make a big difference for your child both physically and emotionally, and could support them in keeping up with school attendance, homework and hobbies.

People usually have the first signs of sickle cell disease in childhood, between the ages of five and fifteen. Sickle cell disease affects your red blood cells, whose job it is to carry oxygen around your body. Irregular sickle-shaped red blood cells can block blood flow, preventing oxygen from getting around the body. The poor blood flow results in inflammation and pain, infections, and sometimes damage to organs or strokes. But there is a lot that palliative care can do to help your child live better with sickle cell disease, so they can go back to being a kid.

Your palliative care team can also help you understand complex medical information and come to terms with what is happening to you or your child. There are some new treatment options for sickle cell, based on your child’s symptoms. By understanding what is important to your family, they can help you come up with a plan for treatment that will work for your needs.

Palliative care is available in hospitals, in outpatient clinics and in some areas, for home visits. You can find providers by looking at the Palliative Care Provider Directory.

Living with chronic kidney disease? Palliative care can help

March 25, 2018

If you have chronic kidney disease, you know that managing your symptoms and keeping to your treatment plan is hard on you and your family. Palliative care can help you cope by giving you an added layer of support.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses like kidney disease. The goal is to improve quality of life for both you and your family by treating the symptoms and stress of the disease. Palliative care is provided by a team of palliative care doctors, nurses and other specialists who work closely with your other doctors. It is appropriate at any age and any stage of your illness, and it can be given alongside all your other treatments.

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Living well with serious illness: Cathy’s breast cancer story

March 11, 2018

Cathy, 62, has always loved jogging and doing step aerobics, but her true passion is tending to the flowers in her garden.

“I just love being outside and getting my hands in the dirt,” says Cathy, born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.

Cathy will be the first to tell you that gardening takes both patience and the willingness to start anew when a flower doesn’t grow like she’d hoped. “It’s okay when something doesn’t go your way out there. It’s all about adapting and moving forward,” says Cathy.

Cathy has had to apply those same principles to her own life as well. A diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer in 2012—the second time she had been diagnosed with this illness—halted her active and productive life. She faced an uphill climb of difficult chemotherapy regiments and an uncertain future.

After dealing with painful symptoms from the chemotherapy and the stress of managing the ups and downs of her battle for over four years, she asked for better care from her medical professionals. She was referred to palliative care who now work every day to get her back to her active life.

This is Cathy’s story.

… Read More