09 Apr 5 Myths About Palliative Care
The goal of a palliative medicine program is to relieve pain and other symptoms that are burdensome to those suffering from serious and advanced illnesses. As it addresses these symptoms, the palliative system helps patients and families understand their options and form personal goals. It’s a new medical specialty, and for that reason, it’s often misunderstood by physicians, families, and patients alike. We want to eliminate these misunderstandings by dispelling some of the most common myths surrounding palliative care.
Myth 1: Palliative Care = Hospice Care
Though hospice and palliative care are similar in that they take a whole-body approach to the issues faced by patients with advanced illnesses, that’s where the similarities end. For those with terminal conditions, palliative care typically begins much earlier in the process. With hospice, a patient must usually have a life expectancy of less than six months. Hospice is always an option, when and if it becomes right for a person who has received palliative treatment.
Myth 2: A Patient Must Stop Other Treatments When Receiving Palliative Care
For most people dealing with advanced illnesses, palliative and life-prolonging treatments are appropriate and necessary. Thankfully, almost every health insurer now recognizes that fact. Even if they’re nowhere near death, a person can benefit from the pain and symptom management offered by palliative care, and they don’t have to choose one or the other.
Myth 3: Palliative Treatments Shorten a Patient’s Life Expectancy
That’s simply not the case. In fact, research shows that, when palliative care accompanies standard treatment, it extends patients’ life expectancy and improves their quality of life.
Myth 4: Palliative Care Isn’t Necessary, Because Doctors Will Address the Patient’s Pain Issues
As mentioned earlier, palliative care is a unified approach; it’s a partnership between families, patients, and specialists. The central team may include doctors, nurses, and palliative care experts, while occupational and physical therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, and wound care experts may also participate. Palliative care not only addresses the patient’s symptoms, but it also helps them define their goals and understand their care options.
Myth 5: Opting for Palliative Care Means Giving Up
Though it seems that way to some people, the opposite is actually true. When patients opt to receive palliative care, they’re improving their quality of life and striving to live to the fullest, no matter how far the illness has progressed.
Entering into a palliative care arrangement may be a difficult decision for a patient and his or her family, but the team at Auburn Crest is here to help families do so in a loving, peaceful, and dignified manner. Visit our website to learn more or call us today.