When faced with chronic or serious health conditions, older adults are encouraged to embrace the best quality of life possible. One way to accomplish this is through consultation or referral to specialists in palliative care. While palliative care is a relatively “new” specialty, the principles are not. We are a whole team made up of many disciplines, who provide an extra layer of support for people with serious illness and their families. The goal of this type of care is to manage pain and other symptoms, navigate the many confusing aspects of the health care system, and have conversations about what makes life enjoyable to develop a specific plan!
We want our patients to have the best quality of life possible. Sometimes we adjust medications and dosing times to minimize side effects, change medications to something easier to take with fewer side effects, or even stop medications if they don’t meet the goals that patients and their families have. Helping obtain assistive devices to improve function in the home can allow people to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Palliative care should be provided for all with serious illnesses regardless of their illness or age. It can really make a difference!