Monday, February 15, 2016

In Palliative Care, Comfort Is the Top Priority - The New York Times

"Because most people with serious illnesses are older, seniors and caregivers should understand that palliative care offers more care as needed, not less. Unlike hospice, patients can use it at any point in an illness — many will “graduate” as they recover — without forgoing curative treatment. Like hospice, however, palliative care focuses on quality of life, providing emotional and spiritual support for patients and families, along with drugs and other remedies to ease symptoms. Its practitioners help patients explore the complex medical decisions they often face, then document their preferences. It pays off for patients and families. In 2010, a randomized trial of 151 patients with metastatic lung cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital found that those who received early palliative care scored significantly higher on quality of life measures than those receiving standard care, and were less likely to suffer from depression. They were also less likely to get aggressive end-of-life treatment like chemotherapy in their final weeks. Yet they survived several months longer. "


In Palliative Care, Comfort Is the Top Priority - The New York Times

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