Options in Care: Palliative Care


Are you caring for someone who has a terminal condition? Medical advancements have come a long way.  Even so, your doctor may be forced to sit down with you, your loved one, and other family members to consider the possibility that the best course of treatment going forward is to keep the patient comfortable. Free of pain and discomfort, your loved one can enjoy their remaining days and weeks with loved ones. This option of care is called palliative care.

Palliative care is a type of specialized medical care that focuses on the comfort of a person who has a severe illness or disease. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and their family in their remaining days, weeks, or months. Provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who are trained in this method of care and work alongside the patient’s regular medical team, palliative care may be used alongside curative medicine, or it may be chosen in place of painful or unpleasant restorative treatments. One is never too old or too young to receive palliative care. Click here for more resources to help you better understand how palliative care works.

Palliative care teams often work alongside hospice at the end of life to give the patient relief from pain and discomfort related to their disease as it progresses. Such symptoms as fatigue, depression, and shortness of breath may be improved through the use of palliative care practices.

As with hospice services, palliative care should not be frightening or even discouraging for one who has faith in an afterlife with their risen Savior. With an enhanced quality of life and pain managed, your terminally ill loved one might have the time and opportunity to say important things to those around him or her. These final days and weeks can create beautiful memories with children, grandchildren, and others when the patient is in no discomfort but still able to engage with others.

Chris and I hope you will join our conversation this week at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about how palliative care practices have enhanced the life of someone you know.