When should someone be offered palliative care?

February 3, 2022 Palliative care

When should someone be offered palliative care?

The right time to offer palliative care is when a person is living with a chronic illness of life-limiting condition. This medical care can relieve the pain, symptoms and stress caused by these serious illnesses. But what exactly is it? And when should palliative care be offered? Here, we look at the answers to these questions, as well as explore access to palliative care and its benefits.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is medical care for people with serious or terminal illnesses. It is often confused with the end of life care. These are two different types of care, but they have some similar qualities.

Receiving palliative care does not always mean that you will not get better or that you are dying. Although some people receive palliative care as part of their end-of-life care, it can also be provided at any time during a period of illness, alongside other treatments or therapies. It can also form part of your respite care when you are recovering from an illness or operation.

When you are unwell, receiving treatment on top of day-to-day life may become difficult to manage for both you and your loved ones. Your illness may also be terminal, which means you will want to focus on making the most of the time you have left with the people that matter to you. That’s where palliative care comes in.

Still unsure about palliative care or want to learn more? See our guide What is Palliative Care?

When is best to begin palliative care?

You can start palliative care at any stage of an illness, even as soon as you receive a diagnosis or begin treatment. You don’t have to wait until you have reached an advanced stage or when you’re in the final months of life. If managing has become difficult for you or those caring for you, seek professional help. You can begin by speaking to your GP or a care provider like Cavendish.

The earlier you begin palliative care, the better. As well as medical intervention, palliative care can relieve the anxiety, depression, fatigue, and pain that can set in at the beginning of treatment. Palliative care teams understand the multiple and complex situations that you face and can help support families and loved ones too.

Who provides palliative care?

Because of the wide range of things that palliative care covers, it can be provided by a few different people and organisations.

  • Nurses
  • Doctors

If you receive palliative care in a hospital setting, nurses and doctors will assess your needs and provide things like pain relief and medications. They may also recommend complementary therapies.

  • Home care nurses

The same care can be provided by a nurse in the comfort of your own home. For some people, they can convalesce better at home. If the palliative care is being provided as part of the end-of-life care, the patient may wish to die at home, therefore home care nurses form an important part of this.

  • Religious groups
  • Therapists

Palliative care covers more than just medical support at times. Therapies and the support of a group that a person believes in or belongs to can also help someone to recover or pass peacefully.

  • Charity staff

Some organisations specialise in palliative care and can provide support for patients and their loved ones during a difficult time. Staff may complete day-to-day tasks or offer support services to you or your family.

Read about the 5 stages of Palliative Care.

What are the benefits of palliative care?

Palliative care is about making someone as comfortable as possible during their illness and treatment for it. This includes:

  • Pain management
  • Physical and emotional support (this extends to family and carers too)
  • Alleviation of any distressing or overwhelming symptoms
  • Help to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family
  • Planning for complications or death

Palliative care makes sure there is a plan in place, which when you or a loved one is ill is vital. Cavendish can provide you with a palliative home care plan, get in touch with us so we can help you.

Are you looking for home care for yourself or a loved one? Here are some Questions to Ask When Looking for Home Nursing to guide you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Cavendish Homecare using our contact us page.