How to Know it is Time for Palliative Care According to Dr. Alexander Everest

Medical Factors

Palliative care is most often brought into play when a patient has reached the end of the efficacy of curative treatments. This can be a difficult personal realization, but many patients accept their need for palliative care long before their family members are ready for such a change. Family members are often concerned with prolonging a patient’s life as far as possible, but the patient may recognize that the treatments no longer provide any beneficial effect.

Emotional Factors

When you are ready for palliative care, you may be interested in leaving the hospital or nursing home and going home to be with your family. Depending on your medical conditions, this may be possible for patients with end-stage cancer and other terminal diagnoses. It would be best if you considered your own emotional needs and those of your family when choosing palliative care at home.

Effect on Family Members

Effect on Family Members

Accepting the Situation

Patients are more likely to be able to accept the reality of their situation than family members. Working with your doctor, you should present a complete plan for palliative care. Your doctor can work through any issues you may have and help you create a plan that will keep you comfortable. In reality, you should make this plan as early as possible while you are still feeling like yourself. You may be unable to get your wishes across as your illness progresses, and you may need to rely on family members to understand your wishes.

Make a Living Will

To be sure that your wishes are fulfilled, it is necessary to create a living will. A living will lay out your wishes for end-of-life care and can come into effect before your life ends. Another important consideration is appointing a health care power of attorney. When fully briefed on your wishes, your health care power of attorney will be able to authorize palliative care.

Experiencing the Benefits

Many patients who were suffering in the hospital are more content when they receive palliative care. Patients enduring difficult conditions can receive comfort measures rather than constant finger sticks, blood draws, lab tests, and other uncomfortable diagnostics.

Choosing Palliative Care

Overall, suppose you are certain that your medical condition is at the end of its possible treatment. In that case, you should speak with your doctors and family members and let them know that you are interested in receiving palliative care. Family members may have trouble accepting that you are ready for palliative care, but physicians and nurses may be able to help convince your loved ones that you are prepared to transition.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alexander Everest

Alexander Everest

Dr. Alexander Everest has over 20 years of experience in key positions in the healthcare industry.