How Palliative Care Bring Value to Patients at Home

Palliative Care

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There is evidence that shows the American population is aging and more ill. More Americans have life-threatening illnesses as they approach the end of their lives. Palliative care has increased to meet the diverse needs of this group of patients.

As per an article published in The Journal of Palliative Care, many people suffering from a life-threatening chronic disease either don’t receive any palliative treatment or only receive care during the final phase of their disease. It is also noted that the National Consensus Project Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care also addressed this issue, saying that one of the goals of their newly revised guidelines is “to increase access to high-quality palliative treatment for everyone who suffers from serious illness, regardless of diagnosis, setting prognosis, diagnosis, or age.”

There are many possible reasons that patients cannot take advantage of palliative services. An increased understanding of what palliative care is and who may benefit from it will increase the use of these services.

Palliative care is specialized medical care designed to relieve the symptoms, pain, and stress that patients and their families experience while dealing with serious illnesses. It is an approach that aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families by addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Palliative care providers are essential in bringing value to patients at home by providing comprehensive care, improving communication, and enhancing patient satisfaction.

The Concept of Palliative Care

Palliative care can improve the living quality, comfort, and resilience of severely suffering patients and their family members. Patients who are seriously ill have serious medical conditions like cancer, organ failure, or dementia, which negatively affect the daily lives of patients or create stress levels for caregivers.

Palliative care employs an inter-professional team of nurses, doctors, social workers, and chaplains who evaluate and address the physical, mental, social, and spiritual strains of serious illnesses. Doctors of primary care and specialists such as heart or cancer doctors and palliative care specialists, private companies, and other health systems provide it.

Hospice and Palliative Care: They are not one and the Identical

The overarching principle is the same: palliative care and hospice are different services. Hospice care is available to patients nearing their final stages of life with a high likelihood of dying within the next six months and who are no longer able to receive or cannot pursue further treatments for the disease.

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The focus shifts from life-long or curative treatments to care for comfort. The team of specialists provides high-quality medical treatment to make your patient feel as at ease as possible, as well as support family members through the dying process and following the patient’s passing.

Hospice care can be offered in the individual’s home, assisted living, hospice, long-term care, and even in hospitals. Hospice care does not speed up or extend the time of death but will improve your quality of life for the time that remains.

Benefits of Palliative Care

One of the primary benefits of palliative care is that it can be provided in the patient’s home. This approach allows patients to receive care in a familiar environment that is comfortable and safe. Palliative care providers work with patients and their families to develop a care plan that meets their needs. The care plan may include medication management, symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, and assistance with activities of daily living.

Comprehensive Care:

Palliative care providers offer comprehensive care to patients in their homes. They assess the patient’s condition and provide various services to address their needs. For example, suppose a patient is experiencing pain. In that case, the palliative care provider may offer medication to manage the pain and other therapies such as massage, music therapy, or counseling to help the patient cope with the pain. The palliative care provider may also assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. By offering these services, the palliative care provider helps patients maintain their independence and quality of life.

Improving Communication:

Palliative care providers are trained to communicate effectively with patients and their families. They understand the challenges that patients and families face when dealing with serious illnesses, and they are skilled at addressing the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Palliative care providers help patients and their families navigate the healthcare system, including managing appointments and coordinating care with other healthcare providers through telemedicine communication applications such as Hucu.ai, a HIPPA-compliant software. They can access each other via video conference, audio call, and two-way text messaging in real time and share their test reports and other documents on the most secure cloud-based data storage that can be accessed from anywhere. By improving communication and providing emotional support, the palliative care provider helps reduce stress and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

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Enhancing Patient Satisfaction:

Palliative care providers aim to enhance patient satisfaction by providing personalized and tailored care to the patient’s specific needs. By providing comprehensive care and addressing patients’ and their families emotional and spiritual needs, palliative care providers help patients feel more comfortable and at ease. They also help patients maintain their dignity and autonomy, which many patients need. By enhancing patient satisfaction, palliative care providers improve the overall quality of care and help patients and their families cope with the challenges of serious illnesses.

Holistic Approach: 

Palliative care providers take a holistic approach to care, considering the patient’s needs when developing a care plan. They work with the patient and their family to ensure that all aspects of care are addressed, which can lead to improved quality of life and overall satisfaction.

Coordination of care: 

Palliative care providers act as care coordinators, working with the patient’s other healthcare providers to ensure that care is consistent and coordinated. It can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits, which can be stressful for patients and their families.

Education: 

Palliative care providers offer education to patients and their families, which can help them better understand the patient’s illness and how to manage symptoms. It can lead to improved self-care and increased confidence in managing the patient’s care at home.

Improved Caregiver Support: 

Palliative care providers also support caregivers, who often bear a significant burden when caring for a loved one with a serious illness. By providing emotional support and practical guidance, palliative care providers can help alleviate caregiver stress and prevent burnout.

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End-Of-Life Planning: 

Palliative care providers can help patients and their families plan for end-of-life care, including advance directives and other important decisions. This can help ensure that the patient’s wishes are respected and that their end-of-life care is consistent with their values and beliefs.

Reduced Healthcare Costs: 

Palliative care can also reduce healthcare costs by preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits. By providing care in the patient’s home, palliative care providers can also help prevent or delay the need for more expensive forms of care, such as nursing home care.

Improved Patient Outcomes: 

Studies have shown that palliative care can improve patient outcomes, including pain management, symptom control, and quality of life. By bringing palliative care to patients at home, providers can help achieve these outcomes in a more comfortable and familiar environment.

Overall, palliative care providers bring significant value to patients at home by providing comprehensive care, improving communication, and enhancing patient satisfaction. Through their holistic approach to care, coordination of care, education, caregiver support, end-of-life planning, and other services, palliative care providers can help improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

Conclusion

Palliative care providers bring value to patients at home by providing comprehensive care, improving communication, and enhancing patient satisfaction. They work with patients and their families to develop a care plan that meets the patient’s specific needs, and they offer a range of services to address the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. By providing care in the patient’s home, palliative care providers help patients maintain their independence and quality of life. They also offer emotional support to patients and their families, helping them cope with the challenges of serious illnesses. Overall, palliative care providers play an essential role in improving the quality of life of patients and their families.

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