There is no set age or milestone one must reach to determine when an individual should go into palliative care. Instead, it is determined on a case-by-case basis. But, it is still important to understand that palliative care is an excellent way to help patients get the most out of their final days while enjoying their independence as long as possible. 

To help you better understand when the best time for your unique needs to enter palliative care, keep reading to learn about the five stages of palliative care. Knowing these stages may give you a better idea of when may be the right time to start the process for yourself or your family members.

Stage 1

In stage one, the patient, family, and health care team work together to devise a plan for end-of-life care that prioritizes the patient’s remaining quality of life.

Stage 2

Hospice interdisciplinary teams, like social workers and chaplains, provide spiritual and emotional care for patients and their families.

Stage 3

In the third stage, physicians are working to make sure the patient can maintain as much independence as possible. They do this by providing the patient with services that help them stay independent such as home health aides, certified nursing assistants to help with bathing, and volunteers to help with grocery shopping. In this stage, the nursing team works with the physician for the patient’s ongoing symptom management, prescription management, and overall evaluation of the patient’s needs.

Stage 4

This stage comprises inpatient care arrangements at a hospital or hospice center, if wanted/needed. Inpatient care can take place in a hospice facility, nursing home, or a hospital.

Stage 5

Bereavement support for the family once the patient passes is the crucial fifth step. Families can utilize the service for up to one year to be supported while they cope and heal during this challenging time.

Though the stages provide the framework of palliative care, each patient’s journey at Missouri Palliative & Hospice Care is individualized for their unique needs and desires. To learn more about palliative care and how it can benefit your loved one, contact us today.