Understanding Palliative Care
Research has documented that patients with serious and chronic illnesses, along with their loved ones, can suffer needlessly because of gaps in the healthcare system. In the early 1900s most people died quickly from infections or accidents. Now, modern medical and technological advances have enabled people with chronic conditions such as cancer, end-stage heart, lung, liver and kidney diseases to stay alive for a longer time. As a result, most people in the United States will die from long-term chronic illnesses. These chronic conditions can have numerous distressing symptoms and will lead to an eventual decline in function. Palliative care focuses on easing these symptoms and maintaining the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.
Palliative care is appropriate throughout the course of a serious illness. There is a misperception that this type of care is only useful at the end of life. Unfortunately, this leads to palliative care reaching only a small fraction of those who could benefit from it.
WellStar Palliative Medicine is focused on providing the best quality of life for patients and their families facing life-threatening or advanced illnesses. We focus on the relief of all symptoms, including physical, emotional, social and spiritual to help patients through this difficult time as compassionately as possible. Palliative care complements and is available simultaneously with all other appropriate treatments during any stage of illness, from the time of diagnosis to its final stages.
WellStar Palliative Medicine is developing new approaches to care for seriously ill patients that focus on continuity of care, comfort, dignity, and communication.
Palliative care from WellStar strives to provide you with:
- Expert treatment of pain and all other symptoms so you can get the best relief possible
- The ability to have honest and clear discussions about all treatment options available to you
- Respect for your treatment choices and where you want to receive your care
- Resources and support to enable you to control and manage your health care
- Coordination of your care with all of your health care providers in order to create a smooth transition among all places of care
- Emotional support for you and your family.
If you're interested in obtaining palliative care for yourself or a loved one, ask your doctor or your loved one's doctor for a referral to a palliative care specialist.