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Friday, 27 July 2012 07:21

Palliative Care: Easing the Symptoms of Serious Illness

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Palliative care, a comfort care is becoming popular among the sufferer of serious illness.

pallative-carePersistent pain, nausea, fatigue and similar conditions associated with serious illness worsen the quality of life of a sufferer. Chronic suffers are always victims of physical and psychological impact of disease. Beside these most of them also experienced the side effects of drugs taken for treatment.
Management of such disease-related outcomes is extremely challenging and required quality care to make life worth living.

Palliative care is one such specialized type of treatment pattern, which helps to relieve symptoms associated with diseases, stress and drug side effects.

Palliative care doesn’t cure disease but ease distressing symptoms of illness and make life more comfortable.

National Institute of Nursing Research states that palliative care is a major part of high-quality, evidence –based health care for improving quality of life of those suffering from the symptoms of serious illness.

Palliative care can be introduced at any age and any stage of diseases and works along with curative treatment for illness.

Hospice care is a type of palliative care offers in the last stages of life.

Goal of palliative care

Feeling of restlessness, anxious, tense, fear, low self-esteem, confusion and lack of focus is quite common in person with serious illness. When such feelings are associated with pain and breathing problems patient experiences more discomfort. Palliative care offers a comfort care to deal with these feeling as documented in MedlinePlus handout.

Mostly patient of serious illness feel lonely and scared and experience side effects of drug therapy rather than benefits. Family members or caregivers are also feeling exhausted due to lack of proper knowledge or guidance regarding handling of patient's illness and emotions. Naturally, it is a rough time for a patient as well as family.

Palliative care addresses a host of discomforting symptoms associated with serious illnesses. It works well in relieving symptoms such as fatigue, pain, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, sleeping difficulty and shortness of breath, depression and anxiety related to disease. Additionally, palliative care improves strength of body and tolerance to drug intake.

Palliative care is effective in

  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Amyotropic lateral sclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • HIV/AIDS

Palliative care provides

  • Excellent communication between health care provider and patient or family, giving better understanding of illness. Help to gain a clear picture of diseases, related symptoms, treatment available, duration and results.
  • Open discussion and guidance on various available treatment modalities and goal-oriented  approach to deal with symptoms
  • Expert management of diseases-related  symptoms
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Main focus is on patient need, and all the attention is provided on ways to get the best possible care.
  • Future planning regarding health care
  • Work with patient primary doctor to make goals more achievable

National palliative care research centre documented that palliative care improves quality of life of a person in three domains.

  • Easing of physical and emotional symptoms
  • Improvement and strengthening of the patient-physician communication and decision-making
  • Provision of continuous care across multiple healthcare setting such as hospital and home.

Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and health care providers and social workers. Massage therapist, pharmacist, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists and nutritionalist may be part of the team. As a team work palliative care provides extra support to the patient and family. Team approach helps to assess and address the need and goals of patient and family.

Palliative care is available in hospitals; health care centres or at home also. Palliative care strives to help a sufferer as well as family; hence ask about it to your doctor or health care provider

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Read 2524 times Last modified on Friday, 27 July 2012 07:35

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