Clearing up the myths about palliative care

Absolute Care & Health on 18 January 2018

Palliative care is all about improving the quality of life for people suffering life-threatening illness and their families. However, people have a lot of misconceptions about what it actually is.

Many people think palliative care is just about pain management while a person is in the final months of their life. But it is so much more than that, and there are many different benefits of palliative care which go beyond pain management.

Here is what you need to know about the benefits of palliative care and some of the common myths people believe.

What palliative care is and is not

Palliative care is a multidisciplinary practice usually delivered by a team of experts, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and caregivers.

People often believe that palliative care is only provided in hospitals and hospices, and only for people who are approaching the end of their life. While this is one type of palliative care, it is far from the only type.

One of the biggest benefits of palliative care is that it can be provided in your own home where you feel most comfortable. It also includes a much wider range of care services than most people are aware of, including:

  • Preventing and relieving pain and discomfort

  • Managing medications to minimise side effects

  • Managing symptoms other than pain, including psychosocial and spiritual symptoms

  • Help with decision making about treatment options

  • Providing emotional support for individuals and family members

All of these care services are designed to improve your quality of life while living with a serious or life-limiting illness.

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The benefits of palliative care

Palliative care can be started at any time while a person has a serious illness. In fact, the earlier you start, the more benefit you're likely to get from your care.

Studies have shown that people who receive high-quality palliative care from the early stages of their illness, along with best-practice medical care, have better outcomes than people who only receive late palliative care. People receiving early palliative care reported:

  • Feeling better

  • Fewer symptoms

  • Improved mood

  • Better quality of life

There is also some evidence to suggest that people who receive early palliative care live longer as well.

How it works

On a practical level, the day-to-day care service you can receive as part of palliative care can be highly varied. It's also important to remember that palliative care involves more than just completing a list of tasks, the way the care is provided is just as important as the individual tasks.

The care you receive will be tailored to your individual circumstances, always with the goal of improving your quality of life and supporting you to live independently. If you need help with personal care, managing medications, or continence management, this can all be provided as part of your palliative care.

For more advice about the type of care you can receive, get in touch with us and we can answer your questions.

Common myths about palliative care

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Lots of people do not have a clear idea of what palliative care really is. There are some common misconceptions, but here are the facts:

You don't have to leave your home

People usually think of palliative care as something which happens in hospitals and hospices. You can receive palliative care in your own home right up until the very end, and this is becoming more and more popular as well.

It's not just end of life care

Palliative care can be provided right from the very start of a life-limiting or terminal illness. Starting early is the best way to ensure you have a good quality of life for as long as possible.

It's about more than pain management

People often think of palliative care as pain management during a person's final months. While this is important, palliative care can also help you emotional and spiritual support, independence, and symptom management.

You don't have to be completely dependent on others

Receiving palliative care doesn't mean you're completely dependent on others. Early palliative care can help give you the support you need to continue living independently in your our home.

Our approach to palliative care

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At Absolute Care & Health, our approach is all about providing the right kind of care in the right way. Palliative care isn't just about the end, it's about enjoying the time you have in a meaningful way.

We are solely focused on in-home care services because we believe that's where people are most comfortable and have the best opportunity to enjoy a good quality of life.

For more information about how we provide palliative care, have a chat with us on 03 9827 8899.