Alert
Close

Introducing AARP RealPad: The Wi-Fi Tablet That Makes It Easy to Share, Learn, Connect and Play. Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
10,000 Games Galore Sweepstakes from AARP
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

A Better Way to Manage Pain

Seriously ill people need special care. Palliative medicine can help

Other research has shown that palliative care reduces spending on expensive hospital care that doesn't prolong or improve patients' lives. Although Medicare has no specific palliative care benefit, many treatments and medications for palliative care are covered through standard benefits. With private insurance, coverage depends on the company and the policy and what specific services you need.

The barriers

Sometimes doctors and patients confuse palliative care with hospice care, which is for people who no longer need or want to treat their condition but want help managing their pain. Palliative care, on the other hand, is often meant to help people who are still fighting their disease. But some fear palliative care because they think it means giving up. As a result, many patients don't seek this care early in the course of their illness, when it could do the most good.

Often patients assume their doctors will take care of their pain and don't realize that in our specialized medical system, the oncologist or the cardiologist has not been well trained in pain and symptom management.

Also, many patients and doctors have an all-too-human tendency to avoid talking frankly about the seriousness of a diagnosis, which may prevent the subject of palliative care from even being discussed.

"A lot of physicians aren't comfortable talking about what do we do if the chemo doesn't work," says Andrew Putnam, M.D., director of palliative care at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington. That's a missed opportunity, he says, because palliative care teams are trained to help patients understand all their treatment options as well as the quality-of-life ramifications, so they can make truly informed decisions about what's best for them.

Often patients assume their doctors will take care of their pain and don't realize that in our specialized medical system, the oncologist or the cardiologist has not been well trained in pain and symptom management, Meier says. Nor do specialists have a lot of time to spend on quality-of-life issues. Because they are focused on treating the illness, doctors may not realize how bad a patient's symptoms are or that they are overlooking better options for reducing pain.

Next: Want the best care possible? Here's what you can do. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Official Sweepstakes Rules