When Should You Ask For Palliative Care?

If you or a loved one are living with a serious illness, you should learn if palliative care is right for you—and when to ask for it.  

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. It provides relief from the symptoms and stress of serious 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 who works together with your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in your illness. And it can be provided along with treatment that is meant to cure you. 

Most doctors are trained to focus on the cure and treatment of the disease itself rather than on your quality of life issues. That’s where palliative care comes in. When your symptoms, stress, and side effects are not under control, you should request that your doctor ask for a palliative care consult. 

What Happens Next? 

It’s important to know that after the consult, the specially trained palliative care team will work together with your other doctors. You will also have a meeting with the team. The palliative care team will manage symptoms such as pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, shortness of breath, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and much more. They will also spend time with you and your family in order to understand your goals and help you match those goals to your treatment options. The team will spend as much time as it takes. 

Palliative care improves your ability to tolerate medical treatments. And it helps you have more control over your care by improving your understanding of your choices for treatment. So if your doctor is not talking to you about adding in a palliative care team, you or your caregivers should ask for it.  

Learn More

You can see if palliative care is right for you or a loved by taking a quick quiz. And then, when you are ready to ask your doctor, bring this information with you appointment. Finally, you can easily find a palliative care provider near you by searching the Palliative Care Provider Directory

About GetPalliativeCare.Org

GetPalliativeCare.Org is an online resource for patients and families that focuses solely on providing information on palliative care from the point of diagnosis. The site is provided by the Center to Advance Palliative Care.