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Early Palliative Care May Improve Quality of Life for CF Patients

Post by admin | June 22, 2018

A recent report published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis showed how palliative care can significantly improve not only the outcome of the disease but also the quality of life of the patients suffering from the disease. The report, titled “The CF-CARES primary palliative care model: A CF-specific structured assessment of symptoms, distress, and coping,” discussed the benefits of introducing palliative care methods into CF patients’ treatments.

Let’s break down this report and dissect the ways palliative care can impact CF patients.  

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is a personalized medical treatment that relieves discomfort and prevents suffering for patients facing problems with advanced life-threatening illnesses. It’s practiced by a specially-trained team of specialists that care for the physically, socially, mentally and spiritually health of the patient and their family.

Palliative care is helpful at any stage of an illness for patients of any age, and it’s best provided at the point of diagnosis along with curative treatment. Its focus is not to cure the disease but to ease the patient’s symptoms and any side effects of treatment.

What are the benefits of palliative care?

Palliative care is established to improve the overall quality of life of a patient and their family. No matter what they’re suffering from, it can help them manage the symptoms and stresses brought on by the illness. It has been shown to treat pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and any other symptoms that may be causing distress.

During palliative care, caregivers help the patient gain the strength to continue with daily life. They will ask the patient their goals—maybe they want to be well enough to leave the hospital, go to a family member’s graduation or transition smoothly to the next step in their treatment. The palliative care team then helps patients accomplish these aspirations.

A doctor holding/ shaking an old womans hand - part of a series.

How can it help CF patients?

Cystic fibrosis is associated with a variety of chronic symptoms including pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, fatigue and insomnia. In addition, CF patients have also shown signs of anxiety and depression due to the distress attributable to the difficulty with CF self-management and the physical symptoms associated with the disease.

According to the report, CF patients were in need of counseling and support similar to that offered from palliative care. As it has been an aid to many patients suffering from a variety of illnesses, palliative care treatments were shown to help CF patients—in the early stages of the disease—cope with distressing factors associated with the disease. Palliative care helps CF patients cope with the chronic symptoms and reduce their symptom burden, thereby potentially reducing their future risk of depression and anxiety. By focusing on the treatment of CF-associated symptoms, palliative care also provides caregivers with the knowledge to structure a symptom management plan that’s more personalized in helping improve the quality of life for CF patients.

How do I get palliative care?

Reaching out for help is the first step. As Los Angeles County’s leading provider of hospice care, Five Star Home Hospice provides a team-oriented approach that addresses all aspects of palliative care, including excellent medical care, pain management, and emotional support. They can develop a personalized CF management plan that addresses the medical, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their family members. If you’re interested in palliative care or learning more about CF treatment, contact the team at Five Star Home Hospice for a free home assessment.

A recent report published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis showed how palliative care can significantly improve not only the outcome of the disease but also the quality of life of the patients suffering from the disease. The report, titled “The CF-CARES primary palliative care model: A CF-specific structured assessment of symptoms, distress, and coping,” discussed the benefits of introducing palliative care methods into CF patients’ treatments.

Let’s break down this report and dissect the ways palliative care can impact CF patients.  

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is a personalized medical treatment that relieves discomfort and prevents suffering for patients facing problems with advanced life-threatening illnesses. It’s practiced by a specially-trained team of specialists that care for the physically, socially, mentally and spiritually health of the patient and their family.

Palliative care is helpful at any stage of an illness for patients of any age, and it’s best provided at the point of diagnosis along with curative treatment. Its focus is not to cure the disease but to ease the patient’s symptoms and any side effects of treatment.

How is palliative care different from hospice care?

Palliative care and hospice care both aim for the pain managemtn and overall

comfort of the patient. Depsite this similarly, they are different in terms of why each one begins. Palliative care’s definition is care that relieves discomfort for patients dealing with life threatening illnesses, but still have a longer life expectancy. Hospice care differs as it is aimed to care for patient’s who have a terminal illness that indicates a limited life expectancy is likely.

What are the benefits of palliative care?

Palliative care is established to improve the overall quality of life of a patient and their family. No matter what they’re suffering from, it can help them manage the symptoms and stresses brought on by the illness. It has been shown to treat pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and any other symptoms that may be causing distress. Those who recieve palliative care alongside their other treatments tend to have a better quality of life.

During palliative care, caregivers help the patient gain the strength to continue with daily life. They will ask the patient their goals—maybe they want to be well enough to leave the hospital, go to a family member’s graduation or transition smoothly to the next step in their treatment. The palliative care team then helps patients accomplish these aspirations.

How can it help CF patients?

Cystic fibrosis is associated with a variety of chronic symptoms including pain,

difficulty breathing, coughing, fatigue and insomnia. In addition, CF patients have also shown signs of anxiety and depression due to the distress attributable to the difficulty with CF self-management and the physical symptoms associated with the disease.

According to the report, CF patients were in need of counseling and support similar to that offered from palliative care. As it has been an aid to many patients suffering from a variety of illnesses, palliative care treatments were shown to help CF patients—in the early stages of the disease—cope with distressing factors associated with the disease. Palliative care helps CF patients cope with the chronic symptoms and reduce their symptom burden, thereby potentially reducing their future risk of depression and anxiety. By focusing on the treatment of CF-associated symptoms, palliative care also provides caregivers with the knowledge to structure a symptom management plan that’s more personalized in helping improve the quality of life for CF patients. Since every patient is different, palliative care may not be as benfecial to some patients as it was and has been for others.

How do I get palliative care?

Reaching out for help is the first step. As Los Angeles County’s leading provider of hospice care, Five Star Home Hospice provides a team-oriented approach that addresses all aspects of palliative care, including excellent medical care, pain management, and emotional support. They can develop a personalized CF management plan that addresses the medical, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their family members. If you’re interested in palliative care or learning more about CF treatment, contact the team at Five Star Home Hospice for a free home assessment. Also, if you rather speak with your doctors first that is also a great option. Talking with them and mentioning the usage of palliative care in CF patients may further the conversation.