Things You Never Knew About Palliative Care
Palliative care is NOT just something you get “at the end” when all else has failed.
The word “Palliative” means to lessen. So palliative care is care aimed at lessening or palliating suffering and symptoms.
Palliative care can help with symptoms and suffering as soon as you get a diagnosis, early in your disease, in the middle of treatment, or at the end of your life (terminal care)
It can help even while still receiving chemotherapy and other treatments
Palliative specialists are trained to listen. They are trained in talk therapy as well as medicine and nursing. They do not judge. They are compassionate and put your needs first. They can help with
– physical suffering such as vomiting, restlessness, itch, pain, lack of appetite, sleeplessness
-mental or emotional suffering such as fatigue, worry, anxiety, depression
-spiritual suffering such as “Why me?” “How can I help my children?'” or even “I haven’t spoken to my sister in decades- could you see if she wants to speak with me?”
You may use palliative care for a few weeks to help with symptom control such as constipation while taking painkillers, then have no need for palliative care until later in your treatment when you may need family or spiritual care. Other things you may want help with are nausea, appetite, breathlessness, restlessness, pain, or just wanting someone who is trained to listen well.
You can access palliative care in your own home, in a hospice, or any outpatient community setting