Prostate Cancer: What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative (“pal-lee-uh-tiv”) care is a specialized form of medical care designed for patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease, such as prostate cancer. It focuses on providing the patient relief from the symptoms, pain and stress associated with a serious illness like prostate cancer. The overall goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family.
Who Provides Palliative Care?
Although any medical professional may provide palliative care, palliative care specialists often work as part of a multidisciplinary team to coordinate care. This team may consist of medical health professionals such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists. The role of the palliative care specialist is to treat any of the symptoms, side effects, and emotional problems experienced by patients. Cancer centers and hospitals often have palliative care specialists on staff but a patient may also choose to receive palliative care in their home.
Issues Addressed With Palliative Care
The physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment will vary from person to person. Differences in age, cultural background and support systems all play a major component in determining a patient’s distinct palliative care needs. The following issues are just a few of those that are taken into account with comprehensive palliative care.
- Physical – A number of different medicines and treatment methods such as physical therapy or surgery are used to alleviate many of the common symptoms associated prostate cancer and its treatment.
- Emotional – Feelings of Depression, anxiety, and fear are just a few of the concerns that are addressed through palliative care. A specialist can provide a patient counseling or make a referral to a mental health professional for further assistance.
- Spiritual – Palliative care can also help patients to thoroughly explore their personal beliefs and values so that they may find a sense of peace or reach a point of acceptance with their situation.
Who is involved in palliative care?
Palliative care actively involves the patient and their families working together with health care providers to manage the patient’s palliative care needs. The palliative care team also helps the patient and their families in making decisions regarding treatment and clarifying specific goals for care. Good communication is also a large part of palliative care and team specialists will work to enhance communication between a patient, their family and doctor(s).