Palliative care helps improve the quality of life for patients and families with serious or complex illnesses. It’s often confused with hospice care, but the two are very different. With palliative care, life-prolonging or disease-modifying treatments are okay. This means that you can receive palliative care for as long as necessary without having to stop treatment.
Below you’ll find five common questions about palliative care and our responses.
1. What do palliative doctors do that’s different from other doctors?
Your other doctors focus on your general health and managing your symptoms. Palliative doctors take a different approach by alleviating suffering, improving quality of life and educating family members. Your palliative doctor will join your care team for a full continuum of care.
2. Who provides palliative care in NJ?
Palliative care can be provided by a palliative physician with a personalized consultation or by a team of professionals that may include a doctor who specializes in palliative medicine, a nurse, pharmacist, social worker, dietician and volunteers. More and more, these professionals come to the patient’s home to provide these services. Aside from at-home palliative care, you can also receive this treatment in a hospital, skilled nursing facility or outpatient clinic.
3. Is agreeing to palliative care the same as giving up?
Not at all. In fact, it means that you are taking charge of your health and giving yourself the best chance to feel good. You can have palliative care at any stage in your illness or when undergoing treatment. By reversing some symptoms and reducing pain, you can make treatment more tolerable as well.
4. What symptoms does palliative care treat most?
A wide range of symptoms are treated with palliative medicine. Pain is typically the focus, but other symptoms to treat are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Anxiety and stress
- Depression and hopelessness
- Anticipatory grief and bereavement
5. Does insurance cover palliative care?
Many private insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) cover palliative care and hospice benefits, including Medicare. However, all insurance plans are different, so it’s important to call your provider first to find out what is covered. If there are limits, you’ll want to know this too.
VNA Health Group provides palliative care services in the comfort of your home. To learn more about these services and how they can help you or a loved one, contact us today.