What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tive) focuses on providing patients with the relief from the pain, symptoms and stress associated with serious illness. Palliative care (or comfort care) is given to improve quality of life when you have a serious or life-threatening illness such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, lung disease, cardiac disease/stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), dementia, serious trauma or kidney failure. It is provided by an interdisciplinary team including medical and nursing specialists, social workers, clergy and other staff. All team members work together to meet the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of you and your family.
Palliative care can be provided at the same time as curative medical treatments and strives to provide symptom and pain relief while helping you explore potential care options. Palliative care specialists can also help you make informed decisions and set goals for your care. A palliative care specialist can help by:
- Providing comfort/supporting interventions
- Managing symptoms to relieve suffering
- Listening to and addressing concerns
- Offering emotional and spiritual support
- Asking questions of the healthcare team
- Working through tough decisions
- Finding care and resources after the hospital stay
You may have a hard time dealing with another’s advice. You may also feel the need to remain strong for your loved ones. All of these are normal feelings that should be acknowledged and addressed. A palliative care professional can help you explore these feelings to find the best way for you to cope with them. Read more to learn about palliative care.
What if I’m Interested in Palliative Care?
If you think you would benefit from palliative care, please ask for it. Tell your doctor or nurse that you would like to add a palliative care specialist to your healthcare team and request a consult. You may also contact DeKalb Medical palliative care specialist Deanna Richardson, M.N., M.P.H., FNPBC directly by calling 404.501.1789 or 770.841.1862. She can assist you with difficult decisions, including treatment options and end-of-life issues, if needed.