Thursday, December 5, 2013

Article on Palliative Care

Kaiser Health News has published the December 3, 2013  article by Anna Gorman (the article was done with the Seattle Times) titled When Palliative Care is the Best Care.  The article focuses on several palliative care doctors and their patients, who are seriously ill.  We may think of palliative care in conjunction with patients who are terminally ill but this is a broader view of the use of palliative care, without regard to a prognosis on life expectancy.   The article notes that:

[p]alliative care teams help patients with issues not always addressed by medical doctors. They help manage symptoms such as nausea, difficulty sleeping and fatigue, and they coordinate with the doctors providing treatment. They also provide patients and families with emotional and spiritual support, helping them understand the illness and guiding them through tough treatment choices.

The article cites to an increase in the number of hospitals now offering palliative care programs.  As the article notes, there are patients who are not yet ready for hospice but who can benefit from palliative care. As well, palliative care saves health care dollars and bolsters patient satisfaction. The article also covers the need to train doctors on how to have conversations with their patients who are at the end of life or just critically ill.

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