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Palliative care becoming a more common option

December 4, 2013

Whether they are recovering from a surgery or serious illness, seniors sometimes face a rocky road to recovery. There are many symptoms that can negatively impact these individuals' quality of life, but a growing number of assisted living options can help to lessen the impact of such side effects, and one of the most prevalent is palliative care. More than two-thirds of hospitals with 50 or more beds offer some form of palliative care, which is up from just 25 percent in 2012, The Seattle Times reported.

Palliative care can take on a lot of different forms. While some patients with terminal illnesses make use of the option to improve their quality of life, others who are receiving treatment for a chronic disease or injury can benefit just as much. For instance, many patients make use of palliative care to alleviate symptoms such as nausea, difficulty sleeping and fatigue. Experts say this shifting view could change the way people approach senior care.

"You shouldn't be days or weeks from death to have your symptoms managed and pain taken care of," R. Sean Morrison, director of the National Palliative Care Research Center, told the newspaper.

Of course, there are still some big decisions to make when it comes to palliative care. The treatment can help seniors with a variety of health issues, from Alzheimer's disease and cancer to ALS and multiple sclerosis. Some of the most important things for them to take into consideration are whether symptoms are hindering their quality of life, they are experiencing signs of depression or if there are long, ongoing visits to the doctor.