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Spirit of Palliative Care

Five principles of palliative care

If you’re still not sure whether palliative care is right for you, this information may help. It is adapted from Last Acts, an organization committed to improving palliative care for people facing the end of life.

According to Last Acts, these five principles describe what care can and should be like for everyone facing the end of life. Though palliative care is not limited to people at the end of life, these principles embody the spirit of palliative care at any stage of a serious illness.

  1. Palliative care respects your goals and choices. This includes:
    • Respecting your needs and preferences as well as those of your loved ones
    • Helping you understand your illness and what you can expect in the future
    • Trying to satisfy your preferences for where you get health care, where you want to live, and the kinds of services you want
    • Helping you work with your health care provider and health plan to solve problems
  2. Palliative care looks after your medical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. This includes:
    • Offering ways for you to ease pain and other physical symptoms
    • Helping you and your family make needed changes if the illness gets worse
    • Making sure you are not alone
    • Helping you cope with difficulties, fears, and painful feelings
    • Giving you the chance to say and do what matters most to you
    • Helping you look back on your life and make peace, even giving you a chance to grow
  3. Palliative care supports the needs of family members. This includes:
    • Acknowledging that families and loved ones need help too
    • Offering support services to family caregivers, such as time off for rest, and advice and support by telephone
    • Planning for the medical needs of caregivers, who may be at risk for getting sick themselves
    • Finding ways for family members to cope with the financial costs of caregiving, such as loss of income and other expenses
  4. Palliative care helps you access needed health care providers and appropriate care settings. This includes:
    • Enlisting the services of many different care providers, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, clergy, social workers, and personal caregivers
    • Making sure that, if necessary, someone is in charge of seeing that your needs are met
    • Helping you use hospitals, home care, hospice, and other services, if needed
    • Tailoring options to the needs of the individual and his or her family
  5. Palliative care promotes high standards for care at the end of life. This includes:
    • Helping care providers learn about the best ways to care for dying people
    • Advocating for policies and laws that promote quality palliative care
    • Encouraging financial provisions for end-of-life care from private health insurers, health plans, and government agencies

If you’re interested in palliative care for yourself or a loved one, call us any time at (214) 947-2526.