End of Life Care in Wilkes-Barre, PA
Learn what distinguishes end of life care from palliative care.
When declining health reaches the point where curative options are no longer on the table, end of life care is essential to ensure the senior is able to maximize their remaining life on earth and die with dignity.
End of Life Care Vs. Palliative Care
End of life care, or hospice, is a holistic approach to care designed to address the many issues a person who is dying may face. Ranging from pain management and daily comfort care to counseling services and estate planning, end of life care looks after a senior's physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and social well-being.
An important part of end of life care is palliative care. By definition, palliative care is "comfort care" – a set of supports and services designed to improve an individual's quality of life when they are suffering from a major injury or illness. Palliative care providers include a team of specialists that include social workers, massage therapists, nurses, counselors, clergy, and non-medical caregivers.
While palliative care is an essential component of end of life care, it is also available for anybody facing major medical issues. The issues do not need to be terminal and the care can start at any time during the person's treatment. While end of life care starts once curative treatments have stopped, palliative care works in conjunction with any and all treatments, including those that are curative or restorative in nature.
Next to pain management, the most important component of both palliative care and end of life care is proper, respectful, and effective communication. Seniors cannot make informed decisions about their care if they do not completely understand what is going on with their condition and/or treatment.
Many seniors who require palliative or end of life care are not in a condition to seek out information. They rely on caregivers and providers coming to them and opening a dialogue. Sadly, many seniors are left out of conversations, even if they are in the room and the conversation is about them. The palliative care team seeks to reduce or eliminate these sorts of occurrences.
In addition to verbal communication, end of life care must focus on the non-verbals. Many seniors have lost the ability to communicate vocally as they approach the end. This does not mean they cannot have meaningful communication, however. Caregivers must be aware of their physical movements, the layout of the room, their facial expressions, how they make eye contact with the senior, and so forth.
In short, palliative care seeks to provide comfort and an increased sense of well-being to those who suffer from severe medical conditions. Should conditions become terminal, however, the goal of family members and care providers should be to help seniors die with grace and dignity while maximizing the quality of the life they have remaining. This is the purpose of end of life care.
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