Living in the ever-improving world of medical science means no one should suffer through pain associated with a chronic or life-threatening illness. Palliative care is structured to improve the quality of life of patients and their families through prevention and relief of pain. Often misunderstood, palliative care is available to people of all ages, at any stage of a serious illness, who are seeking relief from pain and ongoing symptoms. A multidisciplinary approach is put in place, which offers access to a multitude of family and community resources including:
Relief from chronic pain
A professional support system for the patient and family
Counsel to help everyone understand that death and dying are indeed part of life
Life quality enhancement that influences the course of the illness
Early intervention to help prolong life
Management of clinical complications
One misnomer is that palliative care means death; that is not the case. The central purpose for this treatment option is to help alleviate or minimize pain in someone enduring a chronic pain causing condition. Hospice and palliative care offer comfort and relief, but are really quite different. People in hospice programs generally have 6 months or less to live. Family, professional caregivers, doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors and clergy help with the grief of dying. Both care programs offer medications to ease the pain.
There is no reason to go it alone. Illinois has many excellent resources available. If you need assistance finding resources Elderwerks can help. Call us at 855-462-0100 and your personal Community Resource Consultant will assist you.
Jennifer Prell is President of Elderwerks Educational Services, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization offering complimentary information, referrals and guidance to older adults, seniors and their families for senior living, care, support and benefits. Visit Elderwerks.org or call 855-462-0100 for personal assistance. We do need your feedback and questions so that this column is useful to all. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.