In general, palliative care is an option for loved ones who have an illness that is threatening their lives. This can happen at any age, much like the conditions that need managing. Whether your loved one has cancer, dementia, or another life-threatening ailment, palliative care may provide some of the treatment solutions that your loved one has been lacking in her existing treatment plans.
Support with Your Loved One’s Health Conditions
Engaging with palliative care opens up some new levels of support for your loved one to deal with her health conditions. There may be end-of-life questions that either of you have or your loved one may need extra help dealing with the emotional strain of her illness. As your loved one’s needs and health continue to change, so too can her care plan.
Symptom Management for Your Loved One
The main goal of palliative care is to help to ease suffering from symptoms your loved one is experiencing. Your loved one can get help managing pain, for example, whether that’s with or without pain medication. Your loved one might also have difficulty sleeping although she’s worn out or she could have other physical symptoms from her illnesses and treatments, like constipation or nausea. Many of these symptoms can be managed by her primary care physician, but the usual approach is with other medications and your loved one may want a different route.
Providing a Range of Services
Caring for a senior with a life-limiting illness may require multiple individuals with varying levels of expertise. Specialists in pain management, dietitians, caregivers to help with the tasks of daily living, and social workers are just a few examples of the types of professionals that can be attained through palliative care.
Respite Care for Family Caregivers
Family caregivers aren’t ignored throughout the palliative care process, however. Your loved one is a major focus of the treatment plan, but providing respite care for you as the family caregiver is also important. Making sure that you’re able to manage your emotions and needs during this time helps you to keep up your part of the caregiving bargain.