What Exactly is Palliative Care and is it Right for My Loved One

June 11, 2018 0

San Diego palliative care. What is it?

A serious illness does not just affect a person physically.

It can adversely affect a person’s sense of self-worth and what it means for them to be productive members of society.

A serious illness can affect a person’s ability to eat and enjoy family events. It can affect the ability to do the basic activities of daily living like using the bathroom, taking a shower and putting on clothes.

These serious illnesses are debilitating and can leave individuals feeling depressed.

That is where palliative care comes in.

Palliative care is care that is given during a serious illness to help the person feel better physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

The ultimate goal with palliative care is to provide comfort that helps improve a person’s quality of life throughout the course of the serious illness.

Serious illnesses that may require palliative care include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

While receiving palliative care, people can still receive curative care for the disease from a regular doctor.

Occasionally, palliative care is confused with hospice.

Although palliative care and hospice care are similar concepts, they are not the same thing.

Palliative care is provided for people to receive comfort during their serious illness, as we established above.

On the other hand, hospice care is provided to people who are expected to live for 6 more months or less.

Who provides palliative care?

Different aspects of palliative care can be provided by a number of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, physical therapists, registered dietitians and social workers.

Home health and home care agencies can also provide you and your loved one with palliative care.

In San Diego, you can rely on GreenTree Home Care for palliative care if need be.

Does your loved one need it?

Determining if your loved one needs palliative care is a collective decision.

You cannot force it on your loved one.

The decision to start palliative care however is made simpler if there is an advance directive.

An advance directive is a legal document that states what decisions should be made during a serious illness. Palliative care measures can be included in an advance directive.

In the case where the advance directive names a healthcare proxy- the healthcare proxy can decide if palliative care is right.

*A healthcare proxy is a person who is appointed in an advance directive to take crucial healthcare decisions should the seriously ill person become incapable of making healthcare decisions. Such an instance includes if the person becomes unconscious because of their illness.

If an advance directive does not exist however, and the person is conscious, you can have this important conversation with them.

During this conversation, it is important not to force your will or ideas on your loved one.

If a family doctor is present during this conversation, this is great.

The doctor will be able to explain the healthcare implications of receiving palliative care.

It is also important to listen to what your loved one is saying during this conversation.

Not everybody wants palliative care. Even though, research shows that it is beneficial.

If your loved one communicates this to you, respect it.

On the other hand, if they decide to go for palliative care, you can make arrangements with the healthcare practitioners taking care of your loved to start care as soon as possible.

How to pay for San Diego palliative care

One of the reasons people never even look into palliative care is because they are afraid of facing more financial responsibilities.

You will be glad to know however that palliative care is covered by Medicare Part B and Medicaid.

Some private insurance companies cover it too.

You can reach out to your insurance’s customer service or you can reach Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE and Medicaid at 877-267-2323.

Find out what the options are to pay for palliative care from these sources so your loved one can receive the quality care they need.

Closing Thoughts

Choosing palliative care does not mean a person has given up on life.

Nor does it mean a person is going to die.

Choosing palliative care can in fact be the reason why a person with an otherwise debilitating disease gets to enjoy life in spite of their serious illness.

If you found this post helpful, make sure to bookmark it and share it with someone else who is asking questions about receiving palliative care.

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