What is palliative care about?
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families who face problems associated with a life-threatening illness through the early identification, prevention and relief of suffering, along with the treatment of pain and physical, psychosocial and/or spiritual problems. Palliative care is an active and interdisciplinary approach that focuses on the patients and their families. End-of-life care, as the final stage in palliative care, can be seen as the comprehensive care for dying patients in the last few days or weeks of their life.
The Many aspects of palliative care
Palliative care is an active and interdisciplinary approach that focuses on the patients and their families. It…
- 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;
- offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
- offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in their own bereavement;
- 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 (WHO, 2002).