Managing Symptoms of Chronic Disease with Palliative Care

Chronic disease is, unfortunately, all too common in the United States; in fact, six out of ten Americans are living with at least one chronic illness. What’s worse, it’s rarely just the symptoms of the disease itself that patients have to wrestle with. They are also forced to cope with the side effects of treatments, the stress of healthcare costs, and the stigma of living with an ongoing disease, among other stressors.

Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic illness can be devastating—and in a time like this, many find themselves wishing they had a network of support to lean on. That’s where a professional palliative care team can step in and help ease the burdens of living with a long-term disease. Indeed, palliative care can go a long way in improving the overall quality of life of those with chronic illnesses. Let’s learn more.

What is palliative care?

While the terms “hospice care” and “palliative care” are often used interchangeably, they are fundamentally different systems of care. (You can check out our blog on the topic for more info!).

At its core, palliative care provides symptom relief, comfort and support to individuals living with chronic disease or other serious illnesses. The overall goal to improve quality of life, assist with medical decisions and help patients and families navigate the healthcare system. This sort of care should work hand-in-hand with the primary treatment being received to minimize the pain, symptoms, and stress of dealing with a serious illness (and potential treatment side effects).

What chronic diseases can benefit from palliative care?

People with various chronic conditions can benefit from a comprehensive palliative care plan. Among many others, these conditions include:

  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Dementia
  • Heart disease (CHF, CAD)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Progressive Neurological Disease
  • Sickle Cell Anemia

What is provided through palliative care?

Patients who opt for palliative care can expect to receive physical, emotional and spiritual support from their providers. At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, our palliative care team is professionally trained and well-versed in providing relief and compassionate support to those living with chronic illness. Assistance can look like:

  • Identifying and addressing pain and discomfort. Our team provides patients with symptom control for problems with breathing, anxiety, depression, insomnia and more.
  • Ensuring patients’ needs are fully met while helping with clear communication between the family and doctors.
  • Focusing on the entire person and offering support to patients who need help with emotional, psychological, spiritual or social needs.
  • Offering support to family members and caregivers who undergo stress from helping those with a serious illness.

Who provides palliative care?

CareBridge Palliative Care of Cincinnati provides support with a team of physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. The team will assess all symptoms related to the chronic disease, then help them and their family understand treatment options and set goals. CareBridge’s palliative team helps patients gain more control over their healthcare, and provide comfortable, supportive atmospheres.

The team works in conjunction with the patient’s primary care physician and referring specialists to help relieve pain and suffering associated with any illness, at any time.

How do I arrange palliative care?

The first step will be to get a referral from your primary care provider to receive palliative care. Your provider may recommend, but if not, don’t be afraid to broach the topic with them! If you have any questions, our team is happy to help facilitate the request.

Regardless of where you are in your journey with chronic disease, CareBridge Palliative Care is here to help answer any questions or concerns you may have. Interesting in learning more about the benefits of palliative care? Contact us today.

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