Consulting with a palliative care team after receiving a diagnosis of cancer can provide you with the proper information and emotional and medical support needed to help you and your family navigate the often difficult journey ahead.
Palliative care is an additional layer of support, and the team works alongside your doctor or oncologist to assist in providing the best possible care and support.
Hearing that you have cancer can be terrifying. Seeing a palliative care provider when you receive your diagnosis will help you to manage this fear and anxiety and will help you get your life back under your control. The focus of care will be about what you need in order to live your life to its fullest, despite your diagnosis. Your treatment plan is individual and is focused on what your needs, values and personal goals are.
Palliative care providers are healthcare professionals who have received specialised training in palliative care. They usually work as a team consisting of care workers, nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists.
The palliative care team’s specialised training enables them to provide you with emotional support. For instance, dealing with depression and anxiety as well as spiritual support. They can help manage the difficult physical symptoms too, such as fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, shortness of breath and constipation.
There may be times when you need help to find answers to the tough questions that you have but don’t know how to ask your doctor. Even if you decide not to have treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, your palliative care team will be there to support you and help you in achieving the goals of care that you want. Remember, palliative care is based on your needs, not your prognosis.
Did you know?
Palliative care falls under a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB) treatment so your medical aid should be providing cover for it by law, but not all medical aids do. One large medical funder does, but only for end-of-life care. Four other medical aids offer cover for palliative care from the time of diagnosis and have a good palliative care programme in place. If you are the type whose strength lies in advocacy, please encourage your medical aid to get on board and provide you with palliative care benefits in addition to your oncology benefits.
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