Reader's view: Support palliative care to help chronically ill
I am a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and a long-time care provider in Duluth. I'm asking our lawmakers to make sure we end this legislative session with a step forward on an issue that deeply affects cancer pati...
I am a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and a long-time care provider in Duluth. I'm asking our lawmakers to make sure we end this legislative session with a step forward on an issue that deeply affects cancer patients and anyone facing a long-term chronic illness: expanded access to palliative care.
It's important to me because I have seen the power of palliative care in my 20 years working with patients in Duluth. Palliative care supports patients and their families and allows them to live their best lives as they cope with a serious diagnosis.
Palliative care is coordinated by a team of doctors and other health care professionals to manage the symptoms of serious illnesses. The team offers support to patients and their families for common and often debilitating side effects of treatment. They focus on properly managing pain and identifying any emotional or social concerns a patient may have.
Palliative care is appropriate for any stage of a serious illness. The public needs more education about the benefits of this care, and we need more providers to meet its growing need. The more understanding and access we offer patients, the better their treatment and experience will be.
Currently, funding for a palliative care advisory committee is included in the state budget. The committee is expected to develop recommendations to increase public awareness and reduce barriers to palliative-care services throughout the state.
I encourage the governor and lawmakers statewide to make sure an advisory committee becomes law this year. It will help patients and families in every district live better as they face difficult diagnoses.
The writer is a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and is a member of the Public Policy Committee for the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care.