For many people, switching to this type of care can get them out of a noisy, unfamiliar, and painful hospital and back home again where it’s comfortable and secure. This is an immediate relief.
The team at Accredited Home Care has heard from many clients that they are happy that they made that switch from standard care to palliative care.
A disclaimer though, just to be safe: everyone’s experience and medical conditions vary, and decisions about types of care should be made by the client with input from their family, loved ones, their primary medical provider, and maybe even other important people in their life.
If palliative care is chosen, however, it can lead to a feeling of freedom, which might be appreciated by someone who is becoming physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted after their current treatment. For instance, someone undergoing chemo, radiation, or both might say “enough” and stop both treatments and focus just on their quality of life.
People who learn that they have a terminal condition also may want to focus on enjoying time with their family rather than pursuing especially risky remedies that may also include pain, costs, and a low chance of success.
Since palliative care can also include hospice care, it can provide the opportunity for clients to focus on themselves and their family, which could include spending time together and taking care of all the paperwork and various arrangements that are involved in the end-of-life process.
They still can receive regular visits from home health care staff, medical evaluations, and access to various therapies and services.
So in some ways, palliative care can be seen as a way to increase a client’s freedom and allow them to enjoy time together, even if their time may be limited in some ways.
Some say that palliative care is able to increase space, in a figurative sense at least.
Essentially, it can provide some breathing room, which may be a relief for people who may have been focusing all of their energy on battling the same illness for a long time.
Perhaps it’s cancer that keeps coming back. Or it’s another medical condition that never quite goes away and comes back in other forms. Or an injury from the past that manifests in different ways as someone ages, such as a war wound from decades before that may not bother someone until much later.
If you’ve had some of these experiences, you know how draining it can be, especially conditions that cause constant pain and anxiety. Chronic health situations, especially those that come with pain, could be disruptive to relationships, finances, and life in general.
So an opportunity to switch to palliative care, even if it’s a hospice situation, might be appreciated as a nice time to pause and reflect and look for other places to focus energy.
It can give clients space to reflect and make a plan moving forward, on their own terms, rather than a doctor or a medical team guessing or experimenting.
In some cases, their primary provider might be interested in continuing to help the client as needed. Or in other cases, they may hand case management over to a provider who specializes in palliative or hospice care.
He or she will likely have more experience working with people at the end of their life or switching away from traditional care. They may be more familiar with what someone is going through mentally and physically.
In addition to the services of a provider trained in palliative care, clients traditionally have access to a larger palliative care team, including nurses; therapists, and even a social worker. All of these skilled personnel are familiar with the palliative process and know how challenging it can be for people new at this stage of their life.
Beyond their medical skills and abilities, many of the people on this team, plus any home health care staff, are able to help provide comfort and help clients and their families deal with this new stage in their life.
They can encourage clients to make the best of their remaining time. They may offer suggestions on healthy ways to deal with the current situation and make it meaningful, including learning the details about National Celebration of Life Day, an opportunity to learn to focus on the positive and find joy in any situation. This year’s day is designated Jan. 22.
The team at Accredited Home Care, for instance, has been working with clients for many years, so they are familiar with different ways people use their new “space” once they transition into palliative care. It can be a difficult situation and some people are confused and miserable at first. But there are also opportunities to celebrate and face what’s ahead bravely.