Earlier is better when it comes to palliative & hospice care. For patients facing an end-of-life diagnosis, there are so many benefits to receiving this care sooner than later.
- Research and clinical trials have found that early palliative care can improve quality of life, decrease depressive symptoms, and prolong life in patients with metastatic cancer.
- In a randomized clinical trial, patients who received palliative care along with standard treatment for advanced cancer reported having a better quality of life and mood than patients who did not receive early palliative care.
- Cancer patients who received early palliative care also scored better on an assessment of their ability to cope with their disease and were more likely to discuss end-of-life care preferences with their health care team.
Understanding why early palliative & hospice care is beneficial begins by understanding exactly what this medical care entails. Like hospice, palliative care treats symptoms and addresses the patient’s well-being but it also encompasses so much more.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and families facing life-threatening illness through the treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems. Pain limits the quality of life, affecting all aspects of a person’s life such as their moods, the ability to function, appetite, and sleep. Hospice & palliative care provides pain relief and tools to fight stress and anxiety so patients can focus on what’s truly important during this time.
Many patients accept hospice & palliative care in the late stages of their terminal illness.
Before this, patients may have been hesitant and wondered: “Am I giving up hope if I accept hospice care this early?” or “Is my medical care going to decline once I am in hospice?” We can confidently say the answer is almost always no. The quality of treatment for your illness will not decline and it does not mean you’re giving up hope. Early palliative & hospice care involves combining the standard treatment for the illness or disease with comfort care and focused symptom relief.
At Agapé, we use a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families and provide a support system. If you or a loved one is facing a terminal diagnosis, we urge you not to wait any longer. Agapé Hospice & Palliative Care is here for you and your family. To learn more about our services and how they can help both you and your loved one, contact us today.