Agreeing to palliative care doesn’t mean you are giving up hope of ever finding a cure for your elderly loved one. Rather, you’re just helping them to cope with the aggressive treatments they’ve been receiving. It’s unlike hospice care which focuses on the end-of-life process and is more about enabling a person to manage their symptoms and pain better as they fight their disease.
While it’s never an easy decision to make, there will come a time when it becomes the only logical option left. Here’s how you can tell if it’s the appropriate time to make the arrangements:
Unbearable Physical and Mental Suffering
All medical professionals want to reduce patient suffering from health concerns. However, palliative cares specialists have received special training and education for symptom control and pain management. They know how to improve quality of life while helping family members to cope with the situation. At the same time, they are knowledgeable in curbing depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues that some clinical doctors aren’t trained to handle.
Burden on the Caregiver
If you’ve been serving as the primary custodian of your senior relative, you’ve likely been taking them to several doctor appointments along with regularly assuring them about the future. This often results in emotional burnout that can affect your personal life and career. You may be reluctant in expressing your feelings for fear of being judged as selfish but the truth is that there’s nothing wrong with leaving the care to specialists for your own mental health.
Need for Ongoing Advice
When it comes to additional therapies and necessary medical procedures, palliative doctors can be a wellspring of relevant information. They offer open lines of communication so you can be informed about possible treatments and current care. Also, they can serve as an ally when making important decisions as they can advise you about the likelihood of success as well as risks of different procedures and therapies available.
Diagnosis of a Serious Illness
Just because you’re choosing palliative care doesn’t mean your elderly parent or family member won’t be receiving cancer treatments anymore. These can still be delivered while you’re all preparing for whatever outcome. Once the patient reaches the point when the treatment is no longer effective or needed then palliative care will become the main focus of care. Some form of therapy can still be given to alleviate pain and side effects. Hospice is usually taken as the next step after exhausting all other options.
Frequent Emergency Room Visits
It’s common for people with serious illnesses to find themselves in the ER every now and again. If it seems like they’re in the hospital more than they’re at home, it could be better to just get them palliative cares. It’s actually possible that they can start their journey in the emergency department itself. While this won’t exactly be ideal, it may be helpful in determining the disease trajectory. Not to mention that resident doctors can discuss with you more about the benefits of palliative care.
Do you think that any of the above is present in your current situation? Then, it may just be the right time to arrange for palliative care for your senior loved one. Be sure to discuss it with your other family members or friends to avoid getting overwhelmed with the process.