It’s a medical specialty that treats more than just the body. ”We don’t only treat the physical aspect of the patient. We take care of the patient physically, spiritually, socially. It’s delivered through multidisciplinary teams. So, the patient will have a physician, nurses, a social worker,” explained Dr. Diana Khalil, a palliative care physician with Lee Health.
Patients diagnosed with a chronic disease like COPD, cancer, or heart failure qualify for palliative care. “The best ideal time to start palliative care is at the time of diagnosis and as the disease progresses, palliative care gets more involved and supports the patient along the journey of the disease,” she said.
In addition to managing the pain, palliative care can also help patients manage feelings of anxiety and depression. “What makes palliative care stand out from other specialties is we don’t just treat the patient, we treat the patient and their families. In palliative care, we do share decisions, we discuss with the patient what’s going on, we discuss their diseases, their treatment options, we help them identify what their goals are for their care, and then they tend to choose what’s best for them. So it’s more the patient dictating the type of care they need,” said Dr. Khalil. The goal is to help patients living with chronic illnesses have a better quality of life. “Studies have found that they tend to live longer and be happier because we take the stress away and we help them have a good life,” she said.
View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/ Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit LeeHealth.org