I was so thankful to see that Rep. Nick Zerwas has introduced a bill in the Minnesota state Legislature this session to establish an advisory committee on palliative care.
Palliative care is a team-based approach to care that treats the symptoms of a serious illness alongside treatment intended to cure the illness itself. Palliative care can be life-changing for people with a serious illness, but it is underused and often misunderstood. People tend to equate palliative care with hospice care, when they are, in fact, similar services provided in very different circumstances. Palliative care can be employed for patients of any age, and at any stage of a serious illness.
The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life. Palliative care can provide treatments to relieve pain or other symptoms of illnesses, including the stress of living with a serious illness and navigating the health care system. It also helps families and caretakers understand what to expect.
I was touched to hear Rep. Zerwas share his personal story with palliative care. When he was 15 years old and was being advised to stop treatment for his congenital heart condition, palliative care not only relieved the symptoms of his condition but also gave him the ability to continue treatment that eventually saved his life. He powerfully credited palliative care with letting him live, when others said he was dying.
Thank you, Rep. Zerwas, for sharing your story and for authoring this important bill that has the potential to touch so many lives. — Barb Burandt, Elk River