Palliative care does not prevent patients from receiving curative treatment

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Hospice care works by treating people “as a whole,” says Joe Contreras, MD. While many patients may believe that they are unable to undergo curative or active treatment and simultaneously receive palliative care, this is not the case, he says.

In an interview with Oncology Nursing News®, Contreras, president of the Institute of Pain and Palliative Care at Hackensack Meridian Health, emphasizes how palliative care is both similar and different from other specialties in medicine.

“What makes it unique is [that] it’s really about the well-being of the person in the context of a serious illness. We approach it holistically: mind, body and spirit. It’s not as simple as thinking, “Well, what is a nephrologist? Do they treat kidneys, kidney disease, or a pulmonologist? They treat lung diseases. We treat the whole person and are interested in preserving their wholeness in the context of serious illness. People who respond are doing extremely well and therefore it’s like having any other specialty on board, ”he said.

“You can also have a team of care specialists on board and that does not prevent you from continuing to receive care from the 3 specialists. You have the same rights; you get the same insurance benefits – it’s billed like any other specialty of medicine.

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