Palliative care can help you set goals

We all have those things we love doing. Whether it’s spending time with loved ones, hobbies like cooking or dancing, or taking trips to new places. These are the things that define who we are and bring us joy. When you’re facing a serious illness and dealing with pain or anxiety as a result, doing the things you love to do can be much more challenging.

That’s where palliative care comes in.

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

With any serious illness, and at any stage of illness, palliative care teams work with patients and their families to get them back to doing the things that make them who they are. Palliative care specialists often begin by asking you about what’s most important to you. The reason for this is that every person has a different answer to the question: What does quality of life mean to you?  If your doctors understand how you want to live your life, they can work with you to match your treatment options to those goals. They can recommend the appropriate dosage of pain medication to take, or how to plan for a big life event like a vacation or an important work function.

In this video, Karen Washburn, MSW, Director of Palliative Care at Lee Memorial Health System, explains how she and her team help patients and families put goals into action.

With serious illness, even with your pain and other symptoms managed, there are always new challenges to face. Amy Berman has received palliative care for the past five years as she faces stage IV breast cancer. She says palliative care helps her better prepare for any obstacles that come her way.

“Just having a plan in place made such a difference,” says Amy. “Having that support means that when I travel or go on a business trip, if something goes wrong, I’m prepared. I feel so well supported.” For more on Amy’s story, click here.

Twenty-three year old Aly Becker is a college student who lives with the symptoms of multiple diagnoses including Churg Strauss syndrome and Mast Cell disorder. Aly sees palliative care for her chronic pain and discomfort as well as stress. Her palliative care team helps her set goals for herself—both short term and long term—so that she is still able to participate in social activities and attend band marches and performances.

“It’s all about trying to find those ways to make your life important. And palliative care has been huge in getting me to see those parts of my life and how important they are. Palliative care has helped me to feel like I can take control back from a situation I had no control over,” said Aly.

 Want to find out if palliative care is right for you or a loved one? Click here.


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