If you’ve ever had a family member or loved one get diagnosed with a serious illness, like cancer, you are well aware of the hardships that accompany such a diagnosis. Not only are there emotional challenges, but medical bills and numerous trips to the doctor also add up, causing stress on the patient and his or her family.
In the day of modern medicine, that’s where palliative care steps in. This type of care helps to improve the quality of life for a patient by reducing symptoms and pain associated with a serious illness.
Underutilized in Ohio, palliative care seeks to treat the person — not just the disease. By focusing on managing pain and addressing symptoms, patients have more control and family members are more closely involved in treatment decisions.
Palliative care is often directly associated with hospice care, but it also offers much more than that, and therefore it’s important to encourage its use in mainstream medicine.
That’s why the Ohio House recently passed House Bill 286, sponsored by Representative Sarah LaTourette. The bill would establish the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council and the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program.
The council and program would consult directly with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) regarding all matters related to palliative care initiatives.
The bill also includes provisions to make information on palliative care more readily available and increase its use in health care facilities. Under the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program, ODH must publish a section on its website devoted to palliative care information.
Additionally, House Bill 286 requires certain health care facilities to create a system to identify patients that could benefit from palliative care and ensure their access to it.
Hearing Rep. LaTourette discuss her own family’s experiences with palliative care, I can see how impactful this type of care can be, and I know it’s a medical option that can work for patients with a serious illness.
The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.
As state legislators, our priority in serving you is to enhance all aspects that contribute to a fulfilling life, and House Bill 286 helps accomplish that for seriously ill patients and their loved ones at a time when comfort and assistance is needed the most.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) represents the 91st District.