Palliative Care for People with Cancer
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is care that makes patients as comfortable as possible and that prevents and relieves suffering. And, although it is part of end-of-life care, it can be applied to care for people in any stage of disease. Palliative care allows for medical therapies, but focuses on:
Improving quality of life
Reaching the best possible function (for example, daily activities, physical activity, self-care)
Helping with decision making about end-of-life care
Providing emotional support to patients and their families
Talk with your health care provider or local hospital about whether or not palliative care is available in your area. Check with your health plan to see whether this type of care is covered.
What are the patient's rights?
Patient's rights are a list of rights to ensure that the company, individual, or institution that is providing his or her care will honor the quality of care and decision-making processes. These rights will be given to the patient and family before care begins. It is similar to a contract that provides protection to the patient and family, and informs them of services and limitations of the caregiver(s).
What are palliative care services?
Either in the home, hospital, or a specialized setting, the services most palliative care providers can offer are extensive. The following are some of the services offered:
Psychosocial support and intervention to help the patient and family members
Equipment for delivery of medications, nutrition, oxygen, and suction
Equipment including special beds, toilets, chairs, wheelchairs, and bath requirements
Skilled nursing care, doctors, pharmacists, and other specialists
Medication and nutrition support
Spiritual, religious, and cultural needs or requests
Special services for siblings or children (such as, support groups)
Respite care allowing the family to rest