Did you know…?
That by the year 2050 it is estimated that greater than 20% of the US population will be over the age of 65. This means as the aging population grows so does the number of people who live with and suffer from chronic illnesses. And that greater than 90% of people think it’s important to talk about their wishes for End of Life care but fewer than 30% of people have actually done anything about it.
Palliative care, early on in a patient’s disease process, can be invaluable. There was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Temel and colleagues, showing how early palliative care improves a person’s quality of life and symptoms of depression and anxiety. The study also demonstrated an increase in survival rates in patients with lung cancer.
Palliative Care can be offered at the onset of a diagnosis of a chronic illness as a means of support. Palliative care treats the person as a whole, not just as a disease. Palliative care specialists help patients and families talk about goals, what’s important to the patient, and what to expect from a diagnosis. These discussions can at times be fueled by emotion and can undoubtedly be difficult but they are vital discussions that need to occur in order to provide the treatment that is in line with a patient’s values and wishes.