Palliative care helps alleviate symptoms of chronic illnesses

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When someone is dealing with chronic illness, there's a special approach to care that patients use to alleviate symptoms.

The idea of palliative care is to lessen the symptoms and suffering that comes with chronic illnesses or serious illnesses.

Simin Beg, Division Chief of Hospice and Palliative Care at Spectrum Health, says that the treatments that are available in palliative care alleviate symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. Palliative care also helps with physical stress, emotional stress, and spiritual stress because going through a chronic illness is not only hard on the body, but on the mind.

With this type of care, physicians at Spectrum Health assign a team to each patient, and design a plan catered to the patients needs and personality. The benefits of this care are vast, but no two plans are the same for each patient.

"Studies have shown that Palliative Care support during active treatment during diseases like cancers and heart failure actually prolong life," Beg explains. "Patients do better, they receive that treatment better, they respond to that treatment better."

Rather than being considered a last resort for treatment, palliative care is seen as a step to recovery. The idea of palliative are is that it's not about the disease, but the patient and making them comfortable.

"In medicine we are traditionally trained and have expertise in treating the disease. Well in Palliative Care we actually get to treat the person, and that means helping the family members or the loved ones that are surrounding them, because a person is not just their disease, it`s their whole environment."

For more information on Spectrum Health's Palliative Care, call (616) 391-9945.

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