Symptom Relief for Serious Illnesses
Palliative care that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients has long been a staple of the hospice movement. The word "palliative" comes from the Latin "to cloak" and the methods employed are designed to mask or cloak pain and alleviate other symptoms such as fatigue and loss of appetite. Now the June 14th issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter explains how palliative care can help people with serious but not yet fatal health conditions feel better and even live longer. Hospice care is generally limited to those whose life expectancy is six months or less but palliative care can provide physical comfort and support at any stage of a chronic or serious illness if it is teamed with treatment.
Aspects of palliative care for those who are not terminally ill can address pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, shortness of breath, nausea, constipation, depression, anxiety, and grief. The care may be delivered in a hospital, a care center, through in-home services, or in outpatient settings. If you or someone you love has a serious illness, especially one that is chronic, consider discussing the possibility of palliative care with your healthcare practitioners. When you feel a well as possible, you will be more likely to have the strength and the will to rally in order to fight your disease or condition both physically and emotionally.