Insurance companies like to parse out what they consider “palliative care” from “curative care” after a car crash or other major injuries. In the insurance companies’ mind, palliative care is almost always unnecessary. Why? Because in the company’s view, it is not fixing the problem, just masking it, so it does no good. Auto insurance companies generally speaking do not believe they should have to pay for such “soft” care because it is not “necessary.”
But what does palliative care really do? Why are doctors willing to offer this kind of treatment?
Palliative care what we call care that will not cure the condition, but makes the person feel better. According to the National Institute of Health, palliative care’s goal “is to make you comfortable and improve your quality of life.” The American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine defines palliative care as care that is “focus[ed] on improving a patient’s quality of life by managing pain and other distressing symptoms of a serious illness.” A serious injury is included in that definition of illness. A recent New York Times article on palliative care focused on the importance of acknowledging and treating the pain from a disease or injury, even when that treatment will not fix the underlying condition.
Palliative care can give people back their functionality after an illness or injury, even if only for a little while. With time, that relief offered by palliative care may help them heal better, faster, and more completely, or even just give them a respite from the pain. For many people left with long term pain after a car crash or other accident, the treatment that relieves their pain is their lifeline back to the life they used to live. While it may not make the pain go away, never to return, that does not mean that the relief obtained through palliative care is insignificant or not necessary for the person’s health and optimal recovery.
There is nothing second rate or unnecessary about palliative care, despite insurance company resistance to the idea. This kind of care may include medications, treatment with a physical therapist, a massage therapist, acupuncture, a chiropractor, injections, and many other types of treatment that provide relief from pain. Palliative care has become its own specialty within the medical community, with Board Certification available through the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Sometimes medicine cannot provide a long term fix for the pain from an injury after a car crash, but that doesn’t mean that the medical field has nothing that can be done—palliative care can help people learn to live with and control the pain that has been thrust into their lives by the negligence of another.
If you have been injured in a car crash in Oregon and have questions about your right to the treatment your doctors are recommending, contact a personal injury attorney today for a free consultation.