What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care allows people to live as comfortably as possible when living with a life-threatening illness. This type of care is based on what the person facing a specific type of terminal illness needs, not the prognosis of the diagnosis itself.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age and stage of a severe condition and can be provided alongside curative treatment options. The goal is to provide relief, support, and comfort to the person facing a life-threatening condition, but the benefits extend far more than that. Palliative care is an addition to the care that a person can receive from the providers in charge of their care plan with the help of a palliative care team.

The palliative care team works to deliver the best possible outcomes for a specific condition. It also helps people live more comfortably by providing the social, medical and emotional support needed when facing a serious illness.

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What Services are Provided with Palliative Care

Palliative care services focus on individual needs, meaning all services offered will differ from person to person. However, some of the most common services provided include:

Palliative care is provided as a family-centred model that provides families and carers with practical, emotional support and improves the quality of life.

What is Palliative Care for the Elderly?

A palliative approach towards care for the elderly can benefit any older person facing a life-threatening illness or a condition likely to affect their life expectancy. Older people frequently have other medical conditions, such as osteoporosis or dementia, and require care over a more extended period.

The elderly can get access to palliative care when they are undergoing medical treatments to cure certain health conditions that can cause significant side effects. That’s why palliative care teams like the ones at Leaf Complex Care can help a family member or a caregiver by providing additional support.

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Functions of Palliative Care

The primary function of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for people facing a terminal illness and provide support for families and carers. Other functions include:

How palliative care relives suffering from symptoms and stress

Where is Palliative Care Provided?

Palliative care is most commonly provided in the home of the person facing a terminal illness or during short-term hospital admission. Even though the palliative care team is primarily based in a hospital, it is becoming more common for healthcare professionals to provide care in an outpatient setting.

The palliative care team can support families, caregivers and patients in emergency rooms, hospital units, nursing homes or intensive care units.

Home Care

Palliative care at home is a flexible program designed to meet the needs of carers and families with someone with a life-threatening illness in a familiar setting. The benefits of home care include comfort, familiar surroundings, and peace of mind.

Hospital Care

In the hospital, a palliative care team of nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals will be assigned to a ward where people with serious illnesses are placed. Many hospitals worldwide have specialized palliative care teams who help other hospital staff care for people nearing the end of life.

Residential Care Home

The residential care home will include a doctor or a specialist nursing staff around the clock. It can also involve the palliative care service of the community in a specific area to provide the best specialist care.

Nursing Homes and other Specialized Clinics

Specialized clinics, sometimes called hospice clinics or units, are designed to provide support when care can no longer be provided at home. These specialized hospice care units are designed to be as homely as possible, but research shows that patients have the best outcomes in a home setting.

Palliative care at home allows you to stay in a familiar place, comfortable and surrounded by memories and the people you love the most.

Who is in the Palliative Care Team?

A palliative care team involves different healthcare professionals working with the person having a severe illness, their families, and other doctors to provide medical, emotional and practical support. The team also includes social workers, nutritionists, specialist doctors and nurses. However, the team can vary depending on the person’s needs and levels of care.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of comfort care, as opposed to curative care, for people that face a terminal illness and have a life prognosis of six months or less.

Hospice care ultimately has the same goal as palliative care: to improve the quality of life for people with a serious illness that cannot be cured. This type of care can be provided at any stage of a person’s condition and includes symptom management and social and emotional support.

The Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice Care

Although the goal of both hospice care and palliative care is pain relief and improving the quality of life, the goals of care are usually different. Hospice is a type of comfort care without the curative element, as the patient has no curative options available. Palliative care can be both with or without curative intent.

People in hospice care are not looking for a cure for their illnesses. The goal is to manage pain and other symptoms, while palliative care offers treatment to prolong life alongside symptom management and pain relief.

The Difference Between Palliative Care and End of Life Care

End-of-life care is part of palliative care and includes care, support and treatment for people nearing the end of their lives. The goal of end-of-life care is to help people live as comfortably as possible in their last moments.

End-of-life care is aimed towards managing physical symptoms and providing emotional support for the person facing a serious illness, their family and friends. Palliative care, on the other hand, can help alleviate the symptoms and support the individual and their family and friends.

Who Needs Palliative Care?

Palliative care is for people facing a life-threatening illness with no cure. Some of the examples include people who:

  • Have cancer, dementia or motor neurone disease

  • Have an acute condition after an accident, stroke

  • Have an existing condition that brings the risk of a sudden decline in health

However, many other conditions might require palliative care. Among others, these conditions include:

Benefits of Palliative Care

The main benefits of palliative care are improving quality of life and empowering people to make better decisions about their lives. The researches show that palliative care is associated with the following:

Palliative Care Provided by Leaf Complex Care

At Leaf Complex Care, our mission is to provide humanized care for individuals requiring palliative care and treat people with respect and dignity.

Our support workers understand even the most difficult situations and bring comfort and support to families and people facing life-threatening conditions. That way, we bring reassurance to families who pour their trust in us to care for their loved ones.

Contact us today if you need any additional information on how our team can support you.