When we speak of healthcare in a chronic-illness scenario, you may hear medical personnel mention the term “palliative care.” This is a fairly new practice area in medicine, but it fulfills an extremely important and human need: the alleviating of pain and suffering following a person’s diagnosis with a serious disease. Providing a patient with palliative care does not necessarily mean the person is dying. Palliative care is simply a means of making people as comfortable as possible as they progress through treatment.
Capital Caring Health is proud to offer our patients palliative care in Washington, DC. We understand it is never an easy decision to choose hospice or palliative care for your loved ones. After all, you want to make them as comfortable as possible during these trying times, but you may know nothing about what different care centers offer.
We want to help you make those difficult decisions by informing you about what palliative care is, what you can expect when you select it for your family member, and how choosing Capital Caring Health makes all the difference.
What Is Palliative Care?
The word “palliative” literally means “relieving pain without addressing the underlying medical condition.” A palliative doctor might administer controlled amounts of pain-relieving or stress-reducing medications to a patient who would otherwise have to be uncomfortable for extended periods.
Palliative care is therefore not actual medical treatment of the disease, but rather an attempt to improve the quality of life for someone who has contracted a grave illness. At the same time, palliative care is also intended to relieve the stress of family members who have become troubled watching their loved ones suffer. Taking the pain away from an ill person is intended to make life generally better for all involved.
The conditions that might invite a sick person’s family to choose palliative care vary greatly, but some of the most commonly seen ones include:
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Does Palliative Care Imply Death Is Near?
The answer to the question posed above is: not all the time. Palliative care provides relief from the harshest symptoms of disease, and receiving palliative care does not necessarily mean a patient is dying or about to die, or that there is no hope left. Palliative care does not speed up or slow down the process of death. It is meant simply to help sick people live with dignity as long as possible as they are treated for their illnesses. Palliative care may stop when and if a person recovers.
Having said that, it often happens that palliative measures lead into hospice care, or end-of-life care. If treatments fail to address the patient’s condition, and death seems more likely with each passing day, the patient may be moved into a hospice setting. Palliative care continues during this time if necessary. Depending on how long a person remains in hospice, palliative care might include emotional support for the family members, as well as for the patient where possible.
Compassionate Palliative Care in Washington, DC
Capital Caring Health sets itself apart as a provider of palliative care in Washington, DC, by doing everything possible to address the needs of the patients in our care. Collaborating directly with our patients’ primary doctors, we can mobilize our palliative care services to wherever we are needed, from hospitals to clinics to our patients’ homes. We develop plans to address the worst of our patients’ symptoms and are always available to inform patients and their family members about the illness and the palliative process.
Best of all, when you require our services in the Washington, DC, area, know that you can access Capital Caring Health in two distinct locations within the city: one on F Street NW and the other at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the Palisades neighborhood.
Contact either of our Washington, DC, locations today to learn more about how you can start palliative care for your loved one or yourself. Our knowledgeable and compassionate care providers will be there to provide comfort and reassurance as long as you need them. With Capital Caring Health, you know we always have your best interests in mind.