Palliative and supportive care are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are two distinct concepts that describe different types of care.
Palliative care is more focused on providing relief from symptoms of illness and managing pain, while supportive care refers to other types of treatments or services that help patients live as comfortably as possible during an illness.
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Make sure you have a clear understanding of what these terms mean
To ensure you’re getting the right care, it’s important to understand the difference between palliative and supportive care.
Palliative care is for people with serious illnesses who may be near the end of life. It helps them live longer, better and more comfortably by managing their symptoms or side effects of treatment. In contrast, supportive care focuses on meeting the needs of patients and their families during this difficult time by providing emotional support as well as practical assistance with everyday tasks such as bathing or dressing.
While some people might think these terms are interchangeable–or even interchangeable with hospice–they aren’t: they describe different ways of providing medical services based on individual needs rather than specific diagnoses (e.g., cancer).
While palliative care has traditionally been offered only after diagnosis has been confirmed through tests such as biopsy results; today there are many situations where it could be given before diagnosis occurs because symptoms suggest something serious might be wrong (e.g., unexplained weight loss).
Look for a provider who has experience in palliative care
If your doctor is unfamiliar with palliative care, ask him or her to connect with a specialist who can provide the information and support you need. Palliative care providers should be able to help you understand what palliative care is and how it can help you. They’ll also know the different types of palliative care, which may include:
- Hospice–a type of medical care that focuses on improving quality of life for people who have terminal illnesses or serious chronic conditions like cancer
- In-home hospice–the same as above but delivered in private homes instead of hospitals or nursing homes
Understand your own values, goals, and beliefs regarding end-of-life care
One of the first and most important steps in planning for your end-of-life care is to understand your own values, goals, and beliefs regarding end-of-life care. You will want to consider:
- What is important to you? For example: Are there any specific ways that you would like your life to end? Do you want family members present or not? Are there religious practices that need to be observed or rituals observed before death occurs; if so what are these rituals/practices?
- What are your goals for yourself as a person who is dying or someone close who is dying with me – what do I want them (and myself) looking forward too even though they may not recover from their illness(es). For example: Am I ready now (or soon) rather than waiting until later after more treatment options have been exhausted because then my chances of survival might decline so much more quickly than expected; thus making it difficult emotionally too early into treatment which could lead us both feeling hopelessness about surviving long enough together.
Palliative and supportive care is a growing field in healthcare, but it’s still not well understood by many people. If you or someone you know is considering this type of treatment, make sure they understand what it involves and how it can help them achieve their goals.
The first step is to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what these terms mean. Then look for a provider who has experience in palliative care so they can answer any questions that come up during this process!