The subject of palliative medicine can be confusing. Many times, families searching for palliative care providers are under stress as they try to care for unexpected illness in a family member. Misconceptions about what palliative medicine is and who it is right for can amplify this stress. This explanation will help clarify what palliative medicine is and what your options for care are.
Unlike other forms of care, palliative medicine is primarily focused on the patient’s comfort. While other care platforms focus on healing the illness itself, they can cause discomfort over the course of treatment, either by failing to treat the symptoms or by causing significant side effects. In palliative medicine, the doctors and nursing staff prioritize the comfort of your loved one, managing symptoms as they arise and dealing with the primary illness as it comes.
After reading a description of palliative medicine, you’re probably wondering why your regular doctors don’t provide the same level of comfort. The simple answer is that different practitioners are trained to do different things. Doctors who practice palliative medicine go through additional training in pain management and quality of life, while traditional doctors focus their schooling in diagnosing and treating major illnesses. These are simply two different schools of thought, and each has its place in the treatment of patients.
In addition, palliative medicine has a lot of interdisciplinary crossroads with other medical professionals, including psychologists, therapists, and others who can provide the mental and emotional care that helps families deal with serious illness. A regular doctor does not typically coordinate with these kinds of providers because it is outside the scope of their treatment plan.
Palliative medicine does not cut you off from other treatment options. Rather, palliative care can be used as long as necessary, and your providers will coordinate with your primary care doctors. Choosing palliative medicine does not necessarily mean you have given up the fight against a serious illness. Many people go through palliative care for a period of time and then return to a normal living situation after an illness has been defeated.
For more information about palliative medicine, contact Wings of Hope today. Patient care specialists are here to help you make the best decisions possible for you or your loved one's comfort and health.