People facing metastatic disease have a variety of needs, including comfort, family support, and guidance. Most benefit from care or consultation with a group such as a hospice or palliative care team.
means to “palliate” or to treat pain and other symptoms. The goals of palliative (or comfort) care are to achieve comfort, manage symptoms, and to improve quality of life. Some hospitals and hospice programs have palliative care programs. This can be especially helpful for people who are pursuing active cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. In any case, the doctor and health care team should always be offering comfort and symptom management.
is a coordinated program of care that uses a team of health care professionals to provide symptom management and support to patients and their loved ones in the last months of life. The hospice plan of care is aimed at relieving pain and other symptoms, and involves care coordinated by doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. Hospice services are available in most communities and are offered where the person resides.
is short-term care that helps family caregivers take a break from the daily routine and stress of caregiving. It can be provided in your home or elsewhere. Respite care is an essential part of the overall support that families may need to keep a person with late stage cancer living at home. Sometimes it involves getting a health aide to take care of your loved one while you take time for yourself.