According to a preliminary study, caregivers benefit from palliative care, too. It seems that the people offering care to their cancer-stricken loved ones tend to experience depression, and other such problems when dealing with these situations and palliative care provided to the cancer sufferers tends to improve the general emotional health of the caregivers, too.
Palliative care is the treatment provided to patients that suffer from life-threatening conditions, such as cancer. The goal is to treat and prevent the symptoms of the disease, rather than the illness itself. It also helps patients deal with spiritual, social, and psychological problems.
This kind of treatment is also called supportive care, symptom management, or supportive care because it only focuses on the symptom, not the illness. Patients can receive both the treatment that they need for their critical condition and palliative care at the same time.
However, in the case in which the disorder can no longer be treated efficiently, doctors tend to focus more on palliative care, offering both the patients and the caregivers some support during the last stages of the disease.
The preliminary study that was made by Areej El-Jawhri, at oncologist at Boston’s Massachusetts Cancer Center and General Hospital shows that caregivers benefit from palliative care, too.
In order to reach these conclusions El-Jawhri studied the mental health development of 275 caregivers. The participants were asked to join the study from the first days in which they volunteered to provide care for their family members that were diagnosed with terminal, incurable cancer.
The team met with the volunteers three times. First, at the start of the study, then in the 12th week of caregiving, and then again in the 24th week.
According to the data provided by Dr. El-Jawhri so far, the patients that opted for palliative care had an improved life quality than those who didn’t. Furthermore, caregivers showed fewer depression symptoms when the patient’s pain was managed by a specialist.
The researchers believe that their study will help caregivers, offering them the possibility of supporting their ill family member better, and going through the difficult situation with more ease.
The findings will be presented during a briefing of the Clinical Oncology American Society meeting that is taking place in Chicago. The study hasn’t been published yet.
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