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The promise and pitfalls of palliative care

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 08:30 PM
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The promise and pitfalls of palliative care

In other words, "All hospice care is palliative care, but not all palliative care is hospice," says Dr. Rick Levene, a palliative care specialist at Spectrum Health Care Inc. in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Ideally, a palliative care team would swoop in shortly after a patient's diagnosis, explaining medical options, ensuring patient and family have a treatment plan, and standing by to manage the stress and discomforts ahead.

In fact, a trial involving newly diagnosed lung cancer patients found that, despite choosing less aggressive treatment of their cancer, patients who got early and continuous palliative care lived about 21/2 months longer, on average, than those who got standard treatment (11.6 months versus 8.9 months).

The same study, published last yearin the New England Journal of Medicine, found that those who got palliative care reported better quality of life and were less depressed. In their final months of life, the palliative care patients were more likely to choose a different path than those who got the usual care: Among those who did not get the palliative services, 54% spent many of their final hours in costly and painful last-ditch efforts to prolong their lives. Fewer palliative care patients underwent such treatment.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 02:17 PM
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1. There should be a note of caution here
in that not all cancers, even lung cancers, are created equal. Some are more treatable than others.

However, I'm a great believer in palliative care for any cancer with a poor prognosis with treatment and I've seen people go this route and live far longer than predicted just by having their pain addressed and by not spending the bulk of their time with their heads in the toilet or recovering from drastic surgeries.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 02:50 PM
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2. Yes, quite right.
It all depends. And also not a decision you want somebody else to make for you.
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