Palliative care is given throughout a patient’s experience with cancer. It should begin at diagnosis and continue through treatment, follow-up care, and the end of life.
At Woman’s, we provide palliative care as part of a multidisciplinary team. This palliative care team includes doctors, nurses, registered dietitians, physical therapists, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists and chaplains. If a person accepts palliative care, she will continue to receive cancer treatment.
Although hospice care has the same principles of comfort and support, palliative care is offered earlier in the disease process. A person’s cancer treatment continues to be administered and assessed while she is receiving palliative care.
Woman’s has palliative care specialists on staff. Additionally, we offer programs that address specific care issues, such as lymphedema
, pain, nutrition
and social challenges. A patient may also receive palliative care through hospice, or at a facility that offers long-term care.
Family and caregivers are an important part of cancer care, and it’s common to become overwhelmed by the extra responsibilities. Many find it difficult to manage other obligations, such as work, and they experience stress over helping loved ones in difficult medical situations. Palliative care can help families and friends cope with these worries and fears and give them the support they need.
Patients and their loved ones should ask their doctor about palliative care. In addition to discussing their needs for symptom relief and emotional support, it’s important for patients to tell their doctor about what they want to know, how much information they want, and when they want to receive it.
Palliative care services are usually covered by health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.
Research shows that palliative care is important to a patient’s health and well-being, because when cancer symptoms are controlled, patients are better able to communicate their emotional needs.