Rae Anne Reflects: A Doctor Shares How to Ask for Palliative Care
You may remember Rae Anne, who shared how she found a lump on the side of her neck while out at a concert. Soon after, she was diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer and started chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Then she received a call from the palliative care team at her cancer center and quickly learned how it would change her life—and her family’s—for the better.
Rae Anne, who has been in remission for over three years and lives with her two children, wants others living with a serious illness to know how palliative care can help them. In her video series, Rae Anne Reflects, which is hosted by GetPalliativeCare.org, she sits down with palliative care specialists to reflect on the many ways that palliative care can help patients and families through, and beyond treatment.
In a recent two-part episode, Rae Anne has a video call with Diane E. Meier, a palliative care doctor and director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care. They discuss how the palliative care team takes care of both the patient and family, and Dr. Meier shares how patients and families can ask their doctors for palliative care, in order to improve quality of life.
Dr. Meier tells Rae Anne, “I hope that the people who hear us talking will say to their doctor, ‘I saw this video about the benefits of palliative care during a serious illness, [about how it helps] people and their families get through it. I’d like you to refer me for palliative care.’”
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.
GetPalliativeCare.Org is an online resource for patients and families that focuses solely on providing information on palliative care from the point of diagnosis. At GetPalliativeCare.Org you can take a short quiz to see whether you could benefit from palliative care, and find a nearby provider. The site is provided by the Center to Advance Palliative Care.