Palliative care is an approach to care that focuses on the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual needs of people who have a serious illness.
Palliative care is not the same as end-of-life care. Palliative care focuses on improving or maintaining quality of life through symptom relief, assessing tolerance for curative treatment and easing transitions when curative treatment is no longer an option. Palliative care incorporates the hopes and values of patients and their family members.
At National Jewish Health, we believe patients at all stages of IPF should receive palliative care. Hospice is different: hospice care is available when curative treatment is no longer an option and a doctor feels that patient’s prognosis may be limited to six months or less. At National Jewish Health, a team of board-certified hospice and palliative care providers, social workers and clinical dietitians is available to discuss your unique health care needs and identify the services that are right for you.
How can palliative care help me?
Palliative care aims to improve your:
Pain, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, constipation and insomnia can decrease your quality of life. Managing these and other symptoms can improve your physical well-being, functional status and ability to continue treatment.
Living with a serious illness can be a source of anxiety, frustration, grief, loss and depression. Finding peace of mind can help make the challenges of your disease and its treatment easier to tolerate. Working with a psychiatrist and participating in support groups can offer outlets for emotional support.
Changes in your relationships with family, friends and colleagues can be a source of distress. Offering support and facilitating conversations with family and friends can relieve some of the isolation and help those important to you understand what is happening to you.
Open discussion about your disease and its treatment can help you gain insight into the meaning of your disease and its role in your life.
Identifying resources in your faith tradition can help provide additional sources of support.
Advance care planning
Assistance with preparing or updating your advance directives, including identifying your surrogate decision-maker, can give you a sense of control over your disease.
Access to community resources
Making referrals to outside resources, including home physical and occupational therapy, home palliative care and hospice services at home or facilities, can expand your treatment team to include resources you may need outside of National Jewish Health.