Palliative Care

1 What is a Palliative Care?

Palliative care is defined as an approach wherein a patient suffering from a life-threatening illness is given help to cope up with the disease. It may include the physical, psychosocial and spiritual support.

In general, the palliative care can be provided to the patient at the time of treatment or when the disease is diagnosed but can also be given during the follow-up or after the end of the life.

Palliative care can be offered for the patients that are suffering from conditions like cancer, heart disease, lung disease, HIV/AIDS.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to receive a palliative care. Suffering from a serious illness not only affects the health of the patient but also gives a mental trauma and degrade the quality of life of both the patient and his/her family members.

Thus, palliative care offers a great support in such cases. The palliative care could be given for any of the following reasons:

  • Providing counseling during the course of patients illness along with treatment therapies
  • To provide relief from physical or mental stress
  • To support patient emotionally and helping him/her deal with conditions like fear, anxiety, hopelessness, or depression
  • For helping the patient to manage and cope up with disease symptoms like loss of appetite, pain, shortness of breath, nausea or problem in sleeping
  • For helping the patient to take life and death affirmatively, in case of a life-threatening condition
  • Providing support to help the patient live an active lifestyle till death
  • Helping the family members to cope up with the trauma

3 Preparing for your Procedure

In preparing for your palliative care, you must follow your doctor’s orders. The palliative care can be provided to patients suffering from various serious life-threatening diseases like cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease, AIDS, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The patient does not have to wait until a disease reaches an advanced stage, to start palliative care. It can be started immediately after the diagnosis of the disease, during the treatment and curing stage. To opt for palliative care, the patient or a family member can talk to the primary health care provider at any stage of the disease.

4 What to Expect

Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your palliative care. The palliative care can be provided by any of the health care provider or by a palliative specialist.

The people involved in providing the care may include the team of doctor, under whom the treatment is going; the nurse staff of the hospital; a dietitian, who will help the patient for healthy eating habits to improve lifestyle; a social worker who aims to support the people who are not financially strong; psychologists who will provide emotional support; a massage therapist, who will help in maintaining the physical health; and a chaplain, who will give spiritual motivation.

The care can be offered by the hospital or any other care center. The palliative care team assesses the levels of pain, depression, anxiety, activeness, appetite, drowsiness, nausea and sensation of well-being on a scale from 0-10.

On the basis of the severity, they help the patient to manage his/her symptoms. The patient may be given palliative care medication along with the treatment medicines, like anticonvulsants or antipsychotic medications. 

Palliative care is given to a patient who is suffering from a life-threatening condition but it is not limited to the patients who are in terminal illness. Some of the persons who get palliative care get cured and may not require palliative care further.

The palliative care team can help the patient to choose the right treatment option. The palliative care can also be given to the patient’s family members for providing emotional and spiritual support or to educate and make them understand about the patient’s condition better.

5 Related Clinical Trials