Understanding the 5 Stages of Palliative Care: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers
Palliative care is a type of specialized care that is designed to support people with serious illnesses. Its primary goal is to improve their quality of life by managing symptoms and providing emotional, social, and spiritual support.
While many people think of palliative care as end-of-life care, it can actually be provided at any stage of an illness. This article will discuss the five stages of palliative care and what they entail.
Stage 1: Early Palliative Care
The first stage of palliative care focuses on planning. You will create a treatment plan and overall long-term schedule to help you understand what your terminal illness will mean to you. You will create a group of medical, guidance, or therapist professionals who will help determine your long-term needs.
Stage 2: Treatment Palliative Care
After creating a plan for your illness, you start your treatment. Depending on your illness, your treatment will look different per person. You will probably have some combination of medications (treatment and pain management), outside exercise, and counseling. It is recommended that your treatment plan exhibits emotional, spiritual, and medical care to ensure you are as supportive as possible.
Stage 3: Transition Palliative Care
This stage is when your illness becomes very real. You no longer are reacting to your treatment plan, so your care transitions to management. Continuing your treatment plan but adding more pain management and emotional support.
Stage 4: End-of-Life Palliative Care
This stage moves away from treatment as death is imminent. You are now focusing on enjoying life as much as possible while still being comfortable. This is when you start to prepare yourself and your family for what is coming.
Stage 5: Bereavement Palliative Care
This stage is when the illness has taken you. Focusing on support for your family and friends in coping with their great loss. The goal is to help your loved ones heal without you.