The subject of palliative medicine can be confusing. Many times, families who are searching for palliative care providers are already under extreme stress caused by unexpected illness in a family member. This has led to many misconceptions about what palliative medicine is and who it is right for. This explanation will help clarify what palliative medicine is and what your options for care are.
Unlike other forms of medicine, palliative care is primarily focused on the patient’s comfort. While other care platforms focus on healing the illness itself, they often cause discomfort in the course of treatment, either by failing to treat the symptoms or by causing significant side effects. With palliative care, the doctors and nursing staff work hard to ensure that your loved one is comfortable. First, by managing symptoms as they arise and dealing with the primary illness as it comes.
After reading a description of what palliative care is, you’re probably wondering why your regular doctors don’t provide the same level of comfort. The simple answer is that they are trained to do two different things. Doctors who practice palliative medicine go through additional training in pain management and quality of life, while traditional doctors focus their schooling in the art of diagnosing and treating major illness families. These are simply two different schools of thought, and each has its place in the treatment of patients.
In addition, palliative medicine has a lot of interdisciplinary crossroads with other medical professionals, including psychologists, therapists, and others who can provide the mental and emotional care that helps families deal with serious illness. A regular doctor does not typically coordinate with these kinds of providers because it is outside the scope of their treatment plan.
It is not true that palliative care cuts you off from your other treatment options. Rather, palliative medication can be used as long as necessary while coordinating with your primary care doctors. It does not necessarily mean you have given up the fight. Many people go through palliative care for a period of time and then return to their normal living situation once the illness has been defeated. It is not the same as hospice, and does not mean that you are locked in until death.
For more information about the differences between palliative medicine and other treatment options, contact Wings of Hope today. Our patient care specialists are here to help you make the best decisions possible for your healthcare and well-being.