Benefits, when to start, cost

Many people associate palliative care with end-of-life care, but palliative care is not just for people who are terminally ill. Palliative care is for anyone with a complex condition or disease, such as Parkinson’s disease, including those who have just been diagnosed.

Palliative care can help newly diagnosed people learn about Parkinson’s disease, manage their symptoms, plan for the future and more.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, this same palliative care team can minimize symptoms, adjust medications, recommend therapies and assistive devices, and provide mental health care. It’s an extra support system for people managing illnesses like Parkinson’s.

Keep reading to learn more about how palliative care can help people with Parkinson’s disease.

Palliative care is a specialized type of support program for people with complex progressive and chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease.

Hospice palliative care programs are delivered by a team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals. The team focuses on goals such as:

  • minimize pain
  • reduce symptoms
  • improved quality of life
  • help manage stress
  • provide emotional and mental health support
  • educate patients and their families about the conditions
  • set future goals
  • monitor patients over the years as conditions progress

Palliative care offers additional support for people with Parkinson’s disease. It does not replace your regular doctors and therapists, and you will not need to stop any treatments or therapies you are currently receiving.

Hospice palliative care programs can support you over the years. Doctors on your palliative care team can communicate with your regular doctor and other members of your extended medical team if needed.

People with Parkinson’s disease can see many benefits from palliative care. The exact benefits will depend on your specific symptoms, but common palliative care benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease include:

  • get help setting goals for your care and treatment plan well in advance
  • have the support you need to live your life as fully as possible
  • have a social worker on your team who can help you deal with any life changes
  • have access to mental health care if you need to talk to someone
  • have access to dietary experts and nutritional resources if your eating habits and nutritional needs change as Parkinson’s disease progresses
  • have aids that can help you with physical or daily living tasks if your ability to perform them independently decreases
  • have healthcare professionals who can act as a support channel between you and doctors and medical facilities
  • have nurses and doctors who can monitor you for changes in the effectiveness of your medications
  • have nurses and doctors who can monitor you for symptoms so they can be treated quickly
  • have guardrails and other supports installed in your home to help minimize your risk of falling
  • have speech therapists on hand to reduce communication difficulties

You can start palliative care for Parkinson’s disease at any time. Palliative care can help anyone with a complex and progressive disease like Parkinson’s.

Although many people wait until their condition has progressed or they are in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease to seek an option such as palliative care, you may get more benefit from starting this care earlier.

This way you will have a support team with you over the years who can help you manage your diagnosis.

There are several providers who offer palliative care programs.

Often, agencies that offer home health care, hospice care, or senior living programs also offer hospice care. Your doctor may be able to recommend a palliative care professional in your area.

You can also use this hospice directory to find one in your area.

Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most other insurers. Many providers do not list palliative care as a separate covered service, but cover the services of all the healthcare professionals who will be part of your palliative care team.

Normally, you will be responsible for your standard visit co-pay or coinsurance cost to see these providers. For example, Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the Medicare-approved cost of most palliative care visits.

If you are unsure of your coverage, the hospice agency you select will likely be able to help you. Most agencies have social workers and other professionals on staff who can help you navigate your insurance and the cost of care.

Palliative care can provide many benefits to people with Parkinson’s disease. Palliative care is not palliative care. It’s not just for people who are terminally ill or for people at the end of life.

Palliative care is for anyone with a complex illness such as Parkinson’s disease. It complements the care you already receive from your regular doctors, therapists and other healthcare professionals. You don’t have to stop receiving the care you’re currently receiving to experience the benefits of palliative care.

Palliative care can provide you with additional support and resources to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. You can start it at any time and it’s usually covered by insurance.

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