Palliative care can help you live life the way you choose to live it.

October, 2016

What is most important to you? It’s easy to forget the things you love about life when you have a serious illness.

Think about it for a moment. Do you love live music or salsa dancing? Do you feel happiest reading bedtime stories to your grandson? Or is your happy place enjoying a simple meal at home with your family?

Doctors are often too busy fighting your illness to stop and ask you what you want out of life, but your answer to that question is very important. Palliative care can help you live a good life, the way you choose to live it.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. It gives you, your family and doctors an extra layer of support. It will treat your pain and other symptoms. It will help you understand your treatment options. And it will help you cope with the everyday 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.

Palliative care team members can help you find relief from pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. They can treat constipation, nausea and loss of appetite. They can help you sleep and overcome depression. Managing these symptoms can give you the strength you need to carry on with your daily life. It can also help you cope with your medical treatments. And it can help you start enjoying life again.

Your palliative care team will include a doctor, a nurse and a social worker as well as other health care professionals. All will be specialists in palliative care. They will spend as much time as needed to understand your situation, learn about what is important to you and make a plan for your care.

Quality of life is important. You don’t have to wait until your symptoms become serious to ask for palliative care. In fact, the sooner you get palliative care, the better for you and your family.