When a patient receives care for chronic illness there are two main types of treatment–curative and palliative care. If you have a loved one who is dealing with a condition such as this, understanding the differences is vital. We’ve put together some basic information about the difference between curative and palliative measures that can help you with making decisions regarding the care that is administered.
Curative care is designed to cure a disease or aid in recovery from an illness or injury. Curative care may be given in a hospital, outpatient office, and at home. Care measures include surgery, medications, therapies, and specialty treatments. Some examples of curative measures include a liver transplant, physical therapy, chemotherapy, or taking an antibiotic. With curative care, the patient and his or her team are actively working towards the best possible way to cure the disease or heal the injury.
With palliative care, the idea is to help comfort and bring relief from a significant illness that may or may not be limiting to life. Palliative care can be administered at home, a hospital, or a long-term care center. With palliative care, the goal is to provide comfort, such as with pain medication or non-invasive therapies. There are often additional services offered such as care coordination, social work, and assistance with preparing an advance directive.
Contrary to popular belief, palliative care is not only utilized during the final days of life. In fact, some people will live for years while receiving palliative care. It is not necessary to stop curative treatments and opting for palliative care does not mean you can’t continue to keep fighting your illness. It simply offers the patient some additional tools to keep them comfortable and work out details with their family during this time.
In many cases, it is not necessary to stop curative measures to receive palliative care. It is important to understand that these two different types of care can be used concurrently in some situations. Also, someone who is receiving palliative care may opt for curative treatment at a later date if something changes with their medical situation. For example; if an individual was diagnosed with late-stage cancer and opted to just work towards comfort rather than seeking chemotherapy began seeing signs the cancer was slowing on its own, he or she might look at other treatments at that time.
At Serenity Oaks, particularly with our hospice services, we help families work through deciding on what type of care plan is the best for their loved ones during the most critical times. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help your family, reach out to us online or by phone today. We look forward to working with you.