Definition

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing patients relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness, no matter the diagnosis or stage of the disease. With palliative care, there is a focus on relieving pain and other troubling symptoms and meeting your emotional, spiritual, and practical needs. In short, this new medical specialty aims to improve your quality of life.

Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, other specially trained people and the cooperation of you and your family. Your palliative care providers will work with you to identify and carry out your goals: symptom relief, counseling, spiritual comfort or whatever enhances your quality of life. Palliative care can also help you to understand all of your treatment options.

How common is palliative care?

It is usually provided to the patient who has a serious or life-threatening disease. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of palliative care?

The common symptoms of palliative care are

  • Pain;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Anxiety or nervousness;
  • Depression or sadness;
  • Constipation;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Anorexia;
  • Fatigue;
  • Trouble sleeping.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious, long-lasting disease or with a life-threatening illness along with any symptoms above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes the using of palliative care?

It can help adults and children living with illnesses such as:

  • Cancer;
  • Blood and bone marrow disorders requiring stem cell transplant;
  • Heart disease;
  • Cystic fibrosis;
  • Dementia;
  • End-stage liver disease;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Lung disease;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Stroke.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for palliative care?

There are many risk factors for palliative care, often serve many people with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is palliative care diagnosed?

Your palliative care team will talk with you about your symptoms, current treatments, and how this illness is affecting you and your family. You and your palliative care team make a plan to prevent and ease suffering and improve your daily life. This plan will be carried out in coordination with your primary care team in a way that works well with any other treatment you’re receiving.

How is palliative care treated?

Some of the non-drug options that patients have found helpful include massage, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, physical therapy, pet therapy, gel packs. In some cases, medications are recommended, including opioids, which dull pain systemically, throughout the body; and adjuvant analgesics, or helper medications that can target specific types of pain, often by fighting inflammation.

Opioid medications are available only by prescription. They are known as opioid analgesics:

  • Hydrocodone;
  • Morphine;
  • Fentanyl;
  • Oxycodone;
  • Hydromorphone.

Although opioids are excellent in controlling pain, they do have side effects. Among the most common are:

  • Constipation;
  • Nausea;
  • Confusion;
  • Sleepiness.

In addition to opioids, there are a number of other helper medications that palliative care specialists use to help control pain. They include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS);
  • Steroids;
  • Tricyclic antidepressant medications;
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant medications (SNRIs);
  • Anticonvulsant medications;
  • These drugs are particularly helpful for people who are experiencing bone or nerve pain.

You may receive palliative care at the same time that you pursue a cure for your illness. You won’t be required to give up your regular doctors or treatments or hope for a cure.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage palliative care?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with palliative care:

  • Control stress and anxiety;
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco;
  • Do not use alcohol and caffeine;
  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Get a plenty of rest;
  • Talk to your family and your doctor about your concern, your feeling;
  • Ask for help at any time you n

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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