Kentucky representatives of the American Cancer Society Action Network are hailing palliative care legislation signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin. The measure establishes a Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council and a Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program.
Kentucky Government Relations Director for the cancer society Kristy Young says many patients don’t fully understand this form of care. “They hear end of life and that’s not necessarily what palliative care is. So, it would be more of an interdisciplinary approach to treatment,” said Young.
Cancer society officials say studies have shown coordinating patient care and treating pain and symptoms leads to increased patient and family satisfaction. It also can decrease the time spent in intensive care and the likelihood of re-admittance to a hospital. “This could potentially help cancer patients with improved symptoms of distress like less pain, nausea, fatigue, and emotional distress,” added Young.
The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both patients and their families. It’s provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work with the patient’s primary care physician. The law calls for the council to be formed by July of next year