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