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5 Signs Indicating A Need For Palliative Care

If you’re looking for signs that your loved one needs Palliative care, you may be worried about being able to tell the difference between natural signs of aging and signs of a serious illness. It can be difficult to tell when someone suffers from a chronic disease like heart failure or dementia. However, many other symptoms can indicate when a person should immediately see their doctor.

Pain and discomfort

Pain and discomfort are common symptoms of a terminal illness and can be caused by the disease itself or by treatment. Palliative care teams are trained to monitor patients’ pain levels and help them manage them. The team will also recommend ways to manage other symptoms like fatigue, weakness, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath and other issues that can cause distress.

Lack of appetite

You may notice your loved one eating less or has stopped eating altogether. This can be a sign of depression or anxiety, but it can also indicate that your loved one has stopped eating because he or she is experiencing pain from an illness. If you suspect that your loved one has stopped eating due to pain, say so and ask him or her if anything hurts.

If there’s no obvious reason for the decreased appetite, it could be a sign of a terminal illness and should be investigated further by medical professionals.

Difficulty sleeping

As you begin to work with your health care team, it’s important, to be honest about how your sleep is affected by cancer. In fact, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that all patients with advanced cancer discuss their sleep quality with their doctors and caregivers. Sleep problems can be caused by a number of factors, including pain and anxiety, depression; medications; and other conditions like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

If you have trouble sleeping at night, you may experience fatigue throughout the day—which can make it difficult for you to participate in the activities that would improve your overall well-being or quality of life (QOL).

Impaired mobility

If you are experiencing difficulty walking, getting in and out of the bath, or turning over in bed, these are all signs that you may need palliative care. Palliative care can help with dressing and washing as well as other daily tasks. If you are having trouble doing any of these things on your own, then it could be time to seek help from a professional.

Trouble concentrating or thinking clearly

You may be experiencing difficulties with concentration or memory if:

  • You find it difficult to follow a conversation
  • You often forget where you are going
  • You have trouble paying attention to what’s going on around you
  • It takes you longer than usual to solve problems, such as figuring out how to do laundry or balancing your chequebook.


If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Palliative care can help manage pain and other symptoms so that patients can have the best quality of life possible for as long as possible.