Getting Started with Palliative Care

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you might be considering palliative care. This type of compassionate care focuses on managing the symptoms and side effects of advanced or chronic illness, with a goal of providing relief and improving quality of life. While receiving palliative care, you can remain under the care of their regular doctor and still seek curative treatment for your illness.

At Agape Care, we’re pleased to be affiliated with South Carolina House Calls in providing palliative care to our patients. Their network of more than 180 providers across the state is a remarkable model of care offering an extra layer of support to our patients, their caregivers and our team.

Among the symptoms that can be treated with palliative care include pain, trouble sleeping, and shortness of breath, as well as loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. Palliative care can also provide patients with guidance on advance care planning and information regarding their disease and its prognosis.

How do you know when palliative care is needed? There’s no one set time to begin palliative care — it can be started at any stage of a disease, and it’s appropriate for patients of all ages. But if you have unmanaged symptoms from your serious illness, have recently been hospitalized, or have taken a recent trip to the emergency room, then it might be time to speak with your physician.

If you and your doctor have decided palliative care could be beneficial for you, then the next step is finding the right provider. While every program will provide the same basic level of service, it’s crucial to find a provider that fits your needs. When considering your options, it’s important to learn about the history and nature of the provider, from how long it’s been in operation to whether it’s Medicare-certified in your state.

Other useful questions to ask include:

  • What does the palliative care team look like?
  • How are services provided after hours?
  • Where can care be provided to patients?
  • How are the spiritual and emotional needs of the patient and family addressed?

Following the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, you’ll likely have questions, especially as your needs change. To learn more about palliative care, please reach out to us — Agape Care is with you every step of the way.