An Introduction To Palliative Care And Medicine For Terminal Illnesses

An Introduction To Palliative Care And Medicine For Terminal IllnessesPalliative care is a specialized branch of medicine. The goal is to provide specific medical care for individuals with serious illnesses. These health problems are stressful and often cause serious symptoms for the sufferer. Palliative care aims to offer relief for the individuals. The goal is to better the quality of life for patients and their families in the wake of these illnesses.

The Officials Behind Palliative Care

This type of care is offered by specially trained medical and social professionals. Doctors and nurses must have backgrounds in serious illnesses while still examining new treatment methods at every turn. They must understand the specific needs of patients and develop ways to increase their comfort.

Other specialists take part in this kind of care. Social workers help find the right solutions for people suffering with these serious health problems. Massage therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, and chaplains also come together to add a layer of support for the patient and health care professionals.

Who Is Eligible For Palliative Care?

Serious illnesses affect people of every age, background, race, and geographical location. Everyone suffering from this kind of health issue can benefit from palliative care. Regardless of the stage of the illness, reducing symptoms is imperative. Some are more strongly affected by this type of treatment than others, however.

The illnesses most commonly treated by palliative care include cancer, stroke, diabetes, renal disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Most of these health problems affect the elderly. Although most palliative patients are seniors, children and younger adults are also affected.

Improving Quality Of Life Through Palliative Care

The primary goal of palliative care is to offer a better quality of life. Many of these illnesses are difficult to treat or cannot be cured. Reducing symptoms and offering the best possible care is crucial for such individuals.

Common Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty sleeping

Communication Is Important

Managing symptoms isn’t the only part of palliative care. It’s also crucial for doctors and caregivers to communicate clearly with the patient and family. Together they explore short-term and long-term goals and how to reach them. These specialists allow patients to gain strength both physically and mentally to take on life. The specialists also cover new and alternative treatment options for the duration of the program.

The Importance Of Support

Emotional support is key during palliative care. Dealing with a serious or lifelong illness is mentally challenging. Specialized palliative care facilities focus on the entire person, helping the individual to cope in healthy ways.

What To Expect With Palliative Care

Each treatment facility is different, so it’s impossible to say for certain what each patient will experience. However, one standardized result is increased comfort. Physical and mental issues may see potentially considerable changes. Pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and depression are addressed by quality palliative care programs because the goal is to treat the whole person, not solely the illness.

People undergoing palliative care have more control over their care regimens and comfort. This increased “say” in the affairs leads to reduced anxiety and stress by way of greater peace of mind. This type of care also offers education that patients might not find anywhere else. They learn about the details and treatment of their condition and how it alters their future.

Patients also have flexible, ever-changing care. Palliative needs are not static. As conditions worsen or improve, different tactics offer the best results. The right team constantly adjusts to help the patient be as comfortable as possible and retain a positive outlook on life.

Insurance And Palliative Care

Cost is a huge factor when considering specialized or long-term care options. Fortunately, most insurance plans cover some or all of the costs associated with PC treatment. Medicare and Medicaid also offer coverage, helping more people receive the assistance they deserve. Social workers and financial consultants can usually work with potential patients to verify coverage.

Palliative care does not require patients to give up their primary doctors. The care team works with existing physicians to determine the best course of treatment. This can make the transition easier for many people and offer a sense of comfort.

Palliative Care Vs. Hospice Care

Some people may be confused about the different between these two methods of care. Palliative programs are made for people of all ages with all stages of illnesses. This method can also be used with curative care to treat the root disease.

Hospice, on the other hand, is for terminally ill patients. In many cases these people have only months to live. Hospice patients do not undergo curative care because their diseases have progressed past the point of treatment. Comfort is the main goal.

We Offer A Wide Selection Of Custom Compounded Medications For Those Under Palliative Care And Those With Terminal Illnesses.

Compounding Services for Palliative Care

About Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding. He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More About Matthew Poteet, PharmD