New research proves that starting palliative care soon after an individual has been diagnosed with a deadly disease can improve a sufferer’s quality of life. The scientists also added that this time could be utilized to find out the patient’s preferences for his last moments before he dies.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the comfort care also known as palliative care does not have the role to save the sufferer which has usually been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as cancer, but to help ease his symptoms.
The research analyzed around 350 individuals that were diagnosed with fatal gastrointestinal or lung cancer. The sufferers were selected on random and assigned to two groups. One of the groups received initial palliative care while the other one only experienced cancer care.
The victims were evaluated two times. Firstly after twelve weeks and the second time after 24 weeks after the diagnosis of the deadly illness. The findings showed that the early palliative group was more likely to report utilizing interested and enthusiastic coping methods than the group that only received cancer care.
Moreover, the comfort care group also experienced fewer depression moments and a higher quality of life than the other group at 24 weeks after the diagnosis but not after the first evaluation at twelve weeks.
Joseph Andrew Greer, the lead author of the research, mentioned that the individuals that joined the palliative group were more likely to accept their diagnosis and take action to try and make their lives better than the cancer care team.
Greer, who is also the psychology manager and a scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital believes that palliative care is the best way to improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from incurable diseases, and this treatment is necessary for both families of the victim and the sufferer.
A recent study also showed that millions of Americans diagnosed with lethal illnesses do not have access to comfort care and that the palliative care was more likely to be encountered in public and non-profit hospitals than in for-profit clinics.
An economics professor and director of the Health Workforce Research Center at the University of California, Joanne Spetz, mentioned that although the comfort care saves money, health insurers have taken their time when coming to reimbursing for them.
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