Chronic disease doesn’t mean you have to accept living in pain – The News Herald
Throughout September, medical specialists and advocates from across the country are raising awareness about chronic pain issues during National Pain Awareness Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain every day, and it’s one of the most common reasons people see a doctor. Patients may not be fully aware of how their pain can limit their quality of life, mobility and daily activities.
Chronic pain can result from a variety of serious illnesses, including cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease, advanced Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and lateral sclerosis amyotrophic.
Simple activities and everyday tasks that are normally taken for granted can become exhausting and painful. Hospital stays may become more frequent. Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety can occur more often.
What makes this harsh reality a little easier to accept is that you don’t have to live in pain.
Palliative care is an effective and practical approach to pain management. According to the World Health Organization, only 14% of people in need of palliative care receive it.
Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on the relief of pain and symptoms of serious illnesses, as well as the quality of life of patients. The goal is not only to relieve the pain of patients, but also to relieve the mental and emotional stressors that accompany long-term chronic symptoms. Palliative care consultants share the results of the assessment and treatment recommendations with your treating physician, who remains responsible for your progress and subsequent treatment.
Palliative care can be that extra level of support and pain relief that helps improve the quality of life not only for the patient, but also for their family. It is another form of comfort care for people with advanced and terminal illness who have difficulty making health care decisions and distressing symptoms. In addition, patients receiving palliative care have the option of continuing to receive curative treatments.
The list of palliative care benefits is endless. To name a few, it can relieve stress, pain, and other symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and sleep disturbances, all of which have a major impact on quality of life and general well-being.
Palliative care may benefit you if your illness or disease progresses with symptoms that are unresponsive to medical treatment, if your ability to perform activities of daily living decreases, if you have difficulty coping with physical symptoms, and emotional, or if there is uncertainty about your prognosis or goals of care. In order to ensure the continuity of care and treatment of a patient, palliative care physicians work in collaboration with the entire medical team of their patients.
Often times, intensive curative treatments come with their own side effects in addition to the disease they are treating, but palliative care helps alleviate the side effects of medicine and curative treatments. It may become easy to come to terms with a life of chronic pain after a severe or terminal diagnosis, but the reality is that patients can find symptom and stress relief from any serious illness and improve their quality of life through palliative care.
For the management of symptoms of serious illness, palliative care may seem similar to palliative care. Patients often ask, “What is the difference between palliative care and palliative care?” “
Palliative care is only part of the palliative care pie. Palliative care is a form of palliative care that provides care to people in the last weeks or months of life, while non-hospital palliative care is appropriate at any time of serious illness.
See palliative care as a precursor to palliative care, making the transition easier for both the patient and their family. While those who qualify for a hospice have a prognosis of six months or less from the end of life, the qualifying criteria for hospice care is a prognosis of six to 24 months or more, meaning that patients can find relief from chronic symptoms sooner.
It is important to note that palliative care is suitable for many conditions, including pain management. A patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs should be considered in providing comfort care that relieves pain and other symptoms.
No one should have to suffer from the symptoms and stress of serious illness and live in pain. Consider discussing palliative care treatment plans with your health care provider to relieve you of chronic pain symptoms and get back the quality of life you deserve.
Dr. Michael Paletta is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of NorthStar Care Community.