If you or your family member is in need of palliative treatment, this checklist will help you plan for what to expect. It will also show you how to help your family members adjust.
Step 1 – Understanding Palliative Care
If you’re going to be starting palliative care, you should know more about it so you can prepare yourself and your loved ones. It’s important to note that every person with a serious illness can possibly benefit from palliative care, and it’s not just for people who have a terminal illness (though it can be).
Palliative care is most easily described as supportive care that seeks to improve a patient’s overall quality of life during their illness. It can include a variety of different aspects.
As part of your checklist ask yourself (and your healthcare provider) which of these areas you may need assistance in:
- Help with understanding your diagnosis more clearly
- Guidance making medical decisions
- Emotional, spiritual, and social support
- Assistance coordinating with your other healthcare providers
- Administering medications for pain, symptoms, or treatment
Overall, when you are starting out, be certain that you feel that your needs are being addressed.
Step 2 – Consider Your Goals and Wishes
One of the primary reasons palliative care exists is to meet your needs as you navigate your illness. Every individual has different needs, personalities, and preferences. In order for your palliative care to meet your needs, you should take inventory of what’s important to you so you can relay it to your team.
Consider some of the following questions to discuss with your healthcare provider:
- What are some things that make you happy?
- Where are your top priorities when it comes to your health and wellness?
- What activities do you enjoy?
- What are you most unsure of when it comes to your treatment or illness?
- Are there spiritual or religious desires you have?
These are just a few questions to get you started. The key is to ask what is important to you. You want the time of your palliative care to be as meaningful and joyful as possible, and these questions are a good step toward that.
Step 3 – Communicating With Your Loved Ones
No person is an island, and the support of others throughout your palliative care can be one of the most pivotal pieces of the puzzle. It can be very helpful to have a discussion with those closest to you so that they can understand what to expect. This is as new to them as it is to you, and communication can be the key to the best journey together.
Invite questions, comments, and consider involving some of your closest loved ones in conversations with your care team for open and productive communication.
It can also be a great idea to share your goals and wishes with your loved ones. You may think this might not be necessary, but your priorities and desires may be shifting as you enter palliative care. Sharing what’s important to you at this time can help everyone understand the best ways to support you.
Don’t Feel Alone
At Sequoia, we can help guide you through the uncertainty you might feel as a new palliative care patient. Our specialty is in bringing hospital-type healthcare to patients like you in the comforts of your own home. Give us a call today.