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Making a care plan
How does palliative care fit in with my treatment plan?

Palliative care aims to help improve your quality of life, manage your symptoms, and provide psychological and spiritual support. You are receiving ‘palliative care’ at every stage of your illness. Pain management, for example, is a very important part of palliative care, as are medicines to help with nausea.

When you decide to receive only palliative care, this means that you are choosing to stop taking treatments that can control the growth of your breast cancer.

When you move to palliative care is a very personal choice. It might be appropriate for you at any point in your illness and can help to reduce the burden of living with metastatic breast cancer.

Most importantly, palliative care takes into account your values, decisions, approach to diagnosis, and wishes for yourself and your family. 

Palliative care can be provided in a number of settings, including at home, in hospital, in a nursing home or a hospice. Care teams consist of a range of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, and social workers – much like your treatment team, but with added expertise in palliative care. Many different services can be included within the umbrella of palliative care such as nursing care, counselling, bereavement support, complementary therapies and respite care.

Thinking about your end-of-life care

Many people find it helpful to take time to consider how your individual values relate to your idea of a good ‘end-of-life’ experience. You can help reduce your fear and anxiety by thinking this through.

It may help to think about the care you would choose to have at the end of life, rather than what you don’t want. There is no right or wrong plan, only what you would like.

It may help to talk this through with someone you care about or a healthcare provider. Discussing your thoughts, values and desires will help you understand the best care for you.

Talk with your oncologist or other healthcare provider before making any decisions about end-of-life care. That way you will have a better understanding of what types of decisions might need to be made.

As hard as it might be to talk about your end-of-life wishes, knowing your preferences ahead of time can make decisions easier for your family. Together, you will make choices that respect your values. You will also have the comfort of knowing that those close to you will make the right choices when the time comes.