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This month, the “Take Charge of Your Health Today” page focuses on palliative care. Vianca Masucci, health advocate at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, spoke on this topic.

VM: Good morning, Ms. Bush. We’re lucky to start the day off by talking about another important topic—palliative care. Palliative care is a medical specialty that has been picking up steam within the last 15 years. To sum it up, it’s a type of care for those with serious illness that helps relieve suffering, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual.

EB: This is a vital branch of medicine. I know from taking care of sick relatives how stressful managing severe sickness can be. When someone is sick, there are many things to worry about—family, money, following the doctor’s orders, pain…the list sometimes seems endless. Each person’s illness and family dynamics are different. Sometimes it feels as if you need a team of professionals to help with all the concerns that arise. That’s exactly what palliative care looks like in many cases: A team of health professionals helping someone with severe sickness feel better. The best part is that this team provides support for the families of the sick individuals as well. That is very important because managing sickness is often a family experience. These family members are considered caregivers.

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