Thursday, Nov 17, 2016
With a focus on support, comfort and symptom management, palliative care seeks to treat and relieve the discomfort, stress and side effects caused by serious illnesses and medical treatments.
More than 90 million Americans are currently living with serious illness, according to the Dartmouth Institute for Health Practice and Clinical Practice and by the year 203 there will be more than 72 million Americans age 65 and up.
“Palliative care strives to support and provide relief to increase quality of life for all patients with serious illnesses,” says Dr. Amar Singh of Harbin Clinic Singh Internal Medicine. “Our care teams work with you to develop a care plan to take care of your treatment and support needs.”
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is a supplementary treatment to your ongoing treatments for your illness. It may actually help speed up your recovery by relieving symptoms, like pain, anxiety or loss of appetite.
“The goal of palliative care is to prevent and relieve suffering and to support the best possible quality of life for patients and their families regardless of their stage of disease or the need for other therapies, in accordance with their values and preferences,” Dr. Singh says.
Palliative care affirms life by supporting the patient and family's goals for the future, including their hopes for cure or life prolongation, as well as their hopes for peace and dignity throughout the course of illness, including the dying process and death
Palliative Care Teams
Your palliative care team works with your doctor to provide an extra layer of support. While your primary care provider focuses on your general health or treating your disease or condition, palliative doctors concentrate on preventing and alleviating suffering.
Palliative care doesn’t replace the patient’s primary care provider and patients may continue to receive curative treatments while receiving palliative care.
What's the difference between palliative care and hospice care?
Both palliative care and hospice care help provide comfort. Palliative care can begin as early as a patient’s diagnosis and can occur at the same time as treatment.
“A common misconception of hospice and palliative care is that it is solely for those at the end of life,” Dr. Singh says. “Hospice and palliative care is about living as full and as comfortable a life as possible for those suffering from life-limiting illnesses.”
If you or a loved one are suffering from symptoms of a disease or disorder, be sure to ask your primary care physician for a referral for a palliative care consult.
Dr. Singh has been practicing palliative medicine since 2002, is board certified in Palliative and Hospice Medicine and is the chair of Palliative Care Services at Redmond Regional Medical Center.
For more information on palliative care, contact Harbin Clinic Internal Medicine physician, Dr. Amar Singh at 762-235-3400.