Editor’s Note: This week, we share some advice for caregivers of those living with Parkinson’s disease on how palliative care can help, from a post reprinted with permission from www.GetPalliativeCare.org. We encourage our readers to visit this site for more useful tips and insights on palliative care for people with serious illnesses.
If you or someone you love is living with Parkinson’s disease, there are ways to improve your quality of life. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are medications and treatments that can reduce the symptoms. A medical specialty called palliative care can help.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses like Parkinson’s disease. It treats the pain, symptoms and stress of the illness, with the goal of improving quality of life.
The Caregiving Team
Palliative care is provided by a team of palliative care doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with the patient’s other doctors to give them an added layer of support.
Palliative care teams are experts in complex symptom management. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive illness that damages the system of nerves that the brain uses to direct the body’s muscles and movements. The illness results in hand tremors, muscle stiffness, slowing and jerking. People living with Parkinson’s can experience sleeplessness, fatigue, constipation and low blood pressure. The disease can also affect the brain in other ways, may result in depression and anxiety, difficulty concentrating and dementia. The palliative care team will work with the patient’s neurologist to be the first line of defense against any of these physical and emotional symptoms, always communicating preferences and making sure treatments are in line with your goals.
If you or someone you love is living with Parkinson’s disease, don’t wait to ask for a palliative care referral. Early involvement of palliative care can give you the added layer of support to help you and your family enjoy quality of life.
Almost all large hospitals have palliative care teams, and it’s also available in outpatient clinics and for home visits, depending on your area. At GetPalliativeCare.org you can learn more, look for palliative care in the Provider Directory, and take a short quiz to see whether you or your loved one might need palliative care.
Getpalliativecare.org provides clear, comprehensive palliative care information for people coping with serious illness. Key features of the site include a Palliative Care Provider Directory, a definition of palliative care, and detailed descriptions of what palliative care does and how to get it. It also provides an interactive quiz to assist you in deciding whether palliative care might be right for you or a loved one. The site is provided by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).