Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the challenges of a terminal disease. Palliative care is an approach to care that addresses the person as a whole and not just their disease. The goal is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, in addition to any related psychological, social, and spiritual problems. This alleviates the physical, psychosocial and spiritual stress of advanced cancer. Palliative care is also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management. Patients may receive palliative care as inpatients in hospital, as outpatients  in the oncology clinic, at a long-term care facility, or at home under the direction of the oncologist.

 

Palliative care:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
  • will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
  • is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.
  • It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not you receive treatment directed at the disease.
  • Palliative care aims to alleviate physical, psychological, and social distress.
  • Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources such as hospice and home based nursing care. It can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited.

Palliative care includes symptomatic support and uses of medication such as pain killers, anti nausea medication, nutritional therapies and others.

Medical therapies used in palliative are:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Medication

Other medical personnel that assist in rendering  palliative care include:

  • Psychologist
  • Dietican
  • Social worker
  • Nurses
  • Religious/ spiritual leaders

 

Dont be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart. Ray T Bennet