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According to the National Cancer Institute, the purpose of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients who have serious or life-threatening diseases. The palliative approach addresses the person as a whole by treating the emotional, social, and spiritual problems that serious illnesses can cause, as well as providing relief from the symptoms. Patients can get this type of treatment at any stage of their illness.
Hospice care includes palliative care, while also providing assistance with daily activities such as administering medications, bathing, and dressing. Hospice care is for terminally ill patients whose medical provider decides that treatments are no longer curative. Hospice care is often provided when the patient has six months or less of life.
How does one receive palliative care? Ask your health care provider for a referral to a palliative care specialist, or go to getpalliativecare.org to find a provider near you. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (nhpco.org) will guide patients and their families to the resources they need.
For more information, consider library resources such as Palliative Care: The 400-Year Quest for a Good Death by Harold Y. Vanderpool, Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death by Henry Fersko-Weiss, Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life by Haider Warraich, MD, and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Ebooks such as Living at the End of Life by Karen Whitley Bell, and Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End of Life Care and the Hospice Movement by Fran Smith are also available.
Summa Barberton Hospital has a Hospice and Palliative Care Center. Those seeking information or advice may call 234-312-5500 to speak with a specialist and schedule an appointment.
The Community Health Library is located on the first floor of Summa Barberton Hospital. Our hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call us with questions at 330-615-3105, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us online at www.barbertonlibrary.org/chl