Palliative Care: Here’s What You Need to Know

Anyone with a serious illness can benefit from palliative care as part of their overall treatment plan. This type of supportive care improves quality of life by easing pain and discomfort. People sometimes confuse palliative care with hospice care, but the two are different. Both focus on quality of life, but palliative care is appropriate for any stage of illness, as well as for those still receiving curative treatment.

To help you understand palliative care in more detail, here’s all the important information you need to know.

Palliative care treats serious illnesses.

Palliative care treats serious and life-limiting illnesses like cancer, congestive heart failure, dementia and COPD. The goal is to relieve suffering and provide a better quality of life. You’ll receive an individualized care plan that addresses your unique needs and symptoms.

Patients can start palliative care at any time.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age or stage of illness. And, you do not have to give up your doctors or treatments. A palliative specialist will collaborate with your personal physician and other healthcare providers to ensure all care is well-coordinated. This type of supportive care seamlessly works alongside curative treatments. 

People who use supportive care live longer than those who don’t.

Research shows that people who use palliative care may live longer than people who don’t. And, the sooner you can start palliative care, the better. The early introduction of supportive care improves mood and quality of life, and may prolong life. Palliative care is typically utilized before hospice care. 

Palliative care gives you more control over your medical care.

It’s true – palliative care gives you greater freedom and control over your care. Doctors will know and understand what you want and how your personal and spiritual beliefs influence your decisions. Your care team will also create a personalized care plan and help you navigate your treatment options.

Palliative care can be provided in different places.

Like hospice, palliative care is not a place but a type of care. Therefore, it can be provided in the home, in a skilled nursing facility or in the hospital.  Palliative care can be transitioned from the hospital to home ensuring you receive consistent, uninterrupted care.

Medicare and Medicaid typically cover palliative care.

Palliative  care is typically covered by Medicare and Medicaid, as well as most private insurance companies. Every financial situation is different, so you’ll need to talk to your insurance company to find out what copays or deductibles you may have.

Serious illness has tremendous and far-reaching effects on patients and families. A lack of information, combined with feelings of confusion, anxiety and doubt, leaves many families ill-equipped to determine the best course of action. To provide support and guidance in making these important healthcare decisions, the Parker Advanced Care Institute at VNA Health Group offers palliative care for an improved quality of life.

Have questions about home care? Contact us today at 800.400.0981