Just as everyone’s medical history is unique, every patient’s approach to treatment is an individual endeavor—what works for some people with the same disease or condition might not be desirable to others. But the one thing every patient will benefit from is support and care during treatment.
Supportive care (also called palliative care) is given at the same time as routine medical care to help you manage physical symptoms and emotional and practical needs. In contrast to hospice care, supportive care can be used alongside aggressive medical interventions and alternative treatments. It can also serve as a prelude to hospice care, but it doesn’t depend on a prognosis.
Ultimately, supportive care means focusing treatment and goals on what is important to the patient. Here are 5 reasons why supportive care might be right for you or your loved one.
1. Supportive care is for everyone
Because supportive care does not depend on a patient’s prognosis, a wide variety of illnesses qualify. These include but are not limited to cancer, heart disease, HIV or AIDS, kidney failure, liver disease, lung disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dementia, serious pain from a long-term illness, and rehabilitation from a major illness.
2. Supportive care is comprehensive
Relief from pain and other symptoms of your illness—including fatigue, nausea, sleep problems, and dietary issues—is just one aspect of supportive care. It also involves social, spiritual, and emotional support to improve your mood and relieve stress, as well as information support to increase your knowledge about your treatment. All of these aspects of supportive care will help you achieve greater piece of mind and quality of life.
3. Supportive care is a team effort
Because supportive care is comprehensive, it involves a team of professionals including dieticians, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, and clergy working alongside family, friends, support groups, volunteers, and other community-based organizations. One of the many benefits of working with a team is the focus on ensuring that you’re making informed choices based on what’s right for you in a way that might not be possible by “going it alone.”
4. Supportive care includes advance care planning
Your care providers and family members will help you develop and articulate your goals, preferences, and choices about your healthcare, including advance care planning. Team members are trained to listen, answer questions, guide, and support you as you complete the task of crafting an advance directive.
5. Supportive care can hasten recovery
Studies show that supportive care not only helps relieve symptoms for patients, but it also helps them get better faster by relieving stress and taking a “big picture” approach to treatment. And for patients who eventually transition to hospice, supportive care has been shown to prolong their quality of life.
Need supportive care? We can help.
At Avalon Home Care, our compassionate caregivers can provide a variety of services to enhance your supportive care team. We offer 24-hour live-in care, as well as hourly caregiving and homemaking services that will allow you to focus on your treatment. We’re based in Carlsbad, and we serve all of San Diego County. Call today for a free consultation.