Palliative Care is a medical term that is often used to describe multidisciplinary health care for patients who suffer from serious chronic conditions, as well as those who are nearing end-of-life. It first arrived in Canada between 1974 and 1975 and is currently offered in various settings such as long-term care facilities like nursing homes and hospices, hospitals, and even in patient homes.
Palliative care brings together healthcare professionals such as nurses, family physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary, specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and even social workers and chaplains.
Together, these medical professionals come up with plans to help relieve patient and family suffering.
Those with serious or incurable illnesses such as cancer, heart failure, COPD, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease may require palliative care. Palliative care is able to treat many of the symptoms and complications that can often come along with some of these illnesses, including constipation, nausea, difficulty sleeping, depression and anxiety. The goal of a palliative care team is to provide extra layers of support – from physical to emotional to spiritual – and to ensure that patients and their families have a high standard of healthcare and comfort for as long as humanly possible.
While discussing end-of-life care is not necessarily a topic of conversation that people enjoy, it is still an important conversation to have. This is commonly referred to as advanced care planning. By having this important discussion, you will have a much clearer picture of your wishes, which is also helpful for those around you in the event that you cannot make health care decisions on your own, as well as with other financial and legal obligations. While some patients receiving palliative care treatment may not need to utilize such a plan, patients and their loved ones may find comfort in knowing that important details have been worked out in the event that something were to happen.
For more resources and information on palliative care and to find out whether or not its services might be suitable for you or your loved ones, visit the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association website at CHPCA.net.