What Are The 5 Palliative Care Stages

Your 1+1 Team
February 14, 2024

Living with a chronic disease or a life-limiting illness can be challenging, robbing individuals of various freedoms. However, one aspect that remains within their control is the choice of how they receive comfort and care to manage their quality of life. Palliative care, a term often misunderstood, is a comprehensive approach that traverses five distinct care stages, each offering a spectrum of medical, emotional, spiritual, and psychosocial support services. 

What Are The 5 Palliative Care Stages

What is Palliative Care?

Before delving into the stages, it is crucial to understand what palliative care truly is. Palliative care is not solely reserved for those in the final stages of life. It is for anyone living with chronic diseases or life-limiting illnesses that cannot be cured. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), palliative care can address a wide range of diseases, including heart problems, cancer, chronic respiratory illnesses, AIDS, diabetes, and neurological disorders, among others.

Stage 1: Stable – Developing & Implementing the Care Plan:

Palliative care can occur at any phase of a life-limiting illness, often starting soon after diagnosis. In the Stable stage, a Treating Health Professional collaborates with specialist professionals to create a comprehensive care plan tailored to the individual’s needs. This plan encompasses current and future treatment, expected evolution of the illness, essential medications, and care preferences. The emphasis is on maintaining the individual’s independence, whether at home or in a specialized hospice setting.

Stage 2: Unstable – Adjusting the Care Plan & Preparing Emotionally:

As the illness progresses and symptoms worsen, the palliative care team revisits the care plan, adjusting services to ensure the individual’s continued comfort. Emotional and mental support becomes essential, involving qualified counselors, therapists, or psychologists to help individuals and their families navigate the emotional challenges. Religious gatherings and leisure activities are also encouraged to manage anxiety and depression during this crucial stage.

Stage 3: Deteriorating – Shifting to End-of-Life Care:

When an individual’s health continues to decline, shifting from palliative care to end-of-life care becomes necessary. The palliative care team conducts periodic assessments of the care plan, considering hospice care or increased home support to ensure ongoing comfort. Unfortunately, individuals at this stage may have limited time left, necessitating extensive psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual care for both the individual and their loved ones.

Stage 4: Terminal – Symptom Management, Emotional & Spiritual Care:

In the Terminal stage, individuals are nearing the end of their lives, with a focus on ensuring their comfort. Extensive physical and medical care is provided, addressing symptoms such as severe mobility issues, loss of appetite, and daily medical interventions. The palliative care team intensifies efforts to enhance the quality of life through emotional and spiritual comfort, offering additional end-of-life medications and spiritual services as needed.

Stage 5: Bereavement – Support for Family Members, Loved Ones & Caregivers:

The final stage acknowledges the passing of the individual with the life-limiting illness. The care plan shifts to providing support for family members, loved ones, and caregivers through various bereavement services. Emotional support is offered through support groups, spiritual support through faith leaders, and psychosocial support to help with grief, loss, and adjustment after the loved one’s death. The duration of the Bereavement Stage varies based on individual needs, extending from weeks to months or as long as required.

Palliative care is a holistic approach that extends beyond just end-of-life support, offering comfort and assistance throughout the entire journey. By embracing the nuances of each stage, individuals can make informed choices about their care, fostering a sense of control and dignity during challenging times.

1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.

1+1 Cares Headquarters
3031 Tisch Way, STE 110PW
San Jose, CA 95128
Available 24/7
(888) 321-4711
Download our app
1+1 Cares is Referral Agency
© 2023 1+1 Cares. | FAQs | Privacy Policy | Sitemap | Websites by SourceSEM