There is no cure for muscular dystrophy, and watching your spouse suffer through it can be difficult, especially when the doctors tell you there is nothing more they can do. If you are in this position and want to make sure the rest of your spouse's life is as comfortable, happy, and satisfying as possible, you may want to consider looking into palliative care. Here are three questions you may have about palliative care.
What Is It?
Palliative care is a combination of a lot of different services all designed to improve a person's quality of life when struggling with a terminal illness or disease. As your spouse's disease progresses, he or she may lose the ability to walk, eat, move, talk, or even breathe. This progression occurs slowly in most cases, but most people that have this disease do not live past their 40s or 50s.
With palliative care, you can be certain that your spouse will be able to enjoy the rest of his or her life, and this is something that can be accomplished in many different ways.
How Does It Help?
Palliative care is something that is tailored uniquely for each person that receives it. For a person with muscular dystrophy, this can include a lot of different services, professionals, and activities. Here are some of the ways it might help your spouse during his or her last months or years of life:
- Pain relief – One of the experts that will work with your spouse will be a pain management specialist. Muscular dystrophy is a disease that affects the muscles, and it can be extremely painful. It's hard to enjoy life when you are in pain, which is why this is typically one of the services offered through palliative care.
- Counseling – Counseling services are also commonly part of a person's palliative care plan. Counseling can help the person work through his or her feelings, and it can help a couple plan for the future. In addition, you can also receive religious counseling or support if desired, and this can help bring peace to some people.
- Mobility issues – Another goal of palliative care is to make sure the person can get around well, and this often involves obtaining mobility equipment. This may include a certain type of wheelchair or power scooter, a hospital bed, or any other type of medical equipment the person needs to get around a little easier.
- Dietician or nutritionist – As the disease worsens, your spouse may begin having problems swallowing food. This occurs because the muscles needed to eat begin to fail. A dietician or nutritionist can help provide your spouse with the right types of foods that may help him or her stay strong, as well as the types of foods he or she will be able to eat with swallowing issues.
There may be other services that you can also receive through this special type of care.
When Should You Look Into It?
If your spouse's doctors have told you they cannot help anymore, you should begin looking for a company that offers palliative care. If your spouse's conditions are not this bad as of yet, you could still look into these services, though. There is no exact rule when it comes to the timing of hiring a palliative care company. It is something you can determine, and a good time to choose this is when you begin to notice that your spouse is not handling the symptoms or issues well.
Many insurance companies cover the costs involved with palliative care, but you will need to talk to your insurance provider to find out exactly how this will work. If you would like to learn more about these services, contact a company that specializes in palliative care services, such as Corner Home Medical.