Palliative care is considered to be an area of healthcare which is focused on preventing and relieving the general suffering of individuals who are dealing with conditions. It is important not to confuse palliative care with options such as hospice care because these two options differ greatly. For example, palliative care is appropriate for the use for individuals who are dealing with all of the disease stages. This means that individuals that are getting treatment for conditions which can be cured can also benefit from palliative care, whereas hospice would require that only people who are considered to be terminal can receive their care. The field of palliative care allows a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, meaning that there is input from many different types of professionals. This includes nurses, chaplains, pharmacists, psychologists, and many other types of medical professionals. This allows for the field to be able to provide all types of care for various concerns, whether they include emotional, spiritual, physical, or social status.
Treatments and medications can be said to have a palliative type of effect if they are able to relieve some of the symptoms associated with the condition without created a curative effect on the disease. This can be seen in situations where nausea is being treated when someone is dealing with chemotherapy or giving morphine to treat the pain associated with a broken leg. The idea of palliative care is not completely new, although it’s generally overlooked. This is due to the fact that most doctors prefer to try to treat their patients in the sense that they can completely cure them instead of providing them with treatments that would be considered to be palliative instead. Treatments that were just for relieving symptoms used to be thought as a hazard and could be suggested to produce side effects that were unnecessary.
However, over the past twenty years, the interest in providing a better focus on the quality of life of sick individuals has increased. There are around 55% of hospitals in the United States which are able to provide beds for those who are in a palliative care program. There are many community hospitals which focus on having palliative care as an option for patients as well. Many hospitals are now starting to focus on the idea of creating a dedicated healthcare team which will be able to provide a purely palliative care centered team to patients who are interested in the option.