Serious illnesses can cause physical symptoms, such as pain, nausea or fatigue. You may also have psychological symptoms like depression or anxiety. The treatments for your disease may cause symptoms or side effects. Palliative care relieves symptoms without curing your disease.
Hospice care, care at the end of life, always includes palliative care. But you may receive palliative care at any stage of a disease. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness. Non-hospice palliative care is not dependent on prognosis and is offered in conjunction with curative and all other appropriate forms of medical treatment.
Palliative care is described as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” More generally the term “palliative care” may refer to any care that alleviates symptoms, whether or not there is hope of a cure by other means; thus, palliative treatments may be used to alleviate the side effects of curative treatments, such as relieving the nausea associated with chemotherapy.
In the United States, a distinction is made between general palliative care and hospice care, which delivers palliative care to those at the end of life. The focus on a patient’s quality of life has increased greatly during the past twenty years. A relatively recent development is the concept of a dedicated health care team that is entirely geared toward palliative treatment: a palliative-care team.
- Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
- Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
- Intends neither to hasten nor postpone death
- Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
- Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible
- Offers a support system to help the family cope
- Uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families
- Will enhance quality of life
- Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
As Compounding Pharmacists, we work closely with your Doctor to suggest therapies that will work for a patient with a wide variety of unique conditions, to alleviate their pain and discomfort. Compounded medications are often the perfect choice for palliative care patients and allow for a customized approach to a patient’s condition and response to treatment.