If you have been diagnosed with a terrible, long-lasting condition or a life-threatening illness, palliative care can make your life considerably easier, as well as the lives of those who care for you. Palliative care can be administered alongside the treatment provided by your main physicians.
The focus of palliative care is on alleviating pain and other distressing symptoms and satisfying your emotional, spiritual, and practical needs.
Your palliative care experts will collaborate with you to establish and achieve your goals, including symptom relief, counselling, spiritual consolation, or anything else that improves your quality of life. In addition to alleviating pain, palliative care can educate patients about their therapeutic choices.
Acknowledging the human aspect of the illness is one of palliative care’s strengths. According to a poll conducted in 2011, individuals requiring palliative care want to be treated as “recognised as a person,” to “have a choice and be in charge,” to “be linked to family and the outside world,” to “feel spiritually connected,” and to “feel physically comfortable.”
Be assured that you can receive palliative care concurrently with treatment for your condition. You will not be obliged to give up your normal doctors or treatments, nor will you have to give up hope for a cure.
Palliative care may also be possible if you have a serious illness that has resulted in many hospitalisations or visits to the emergency room during the past year.
Does palliative care indicate imminent death? Perhaps not necessarily. Palliative care indeed benefits many patients with life-threatening or terminal conditions. Still, there are cases where the patient is cured and no longer needs this support. Others come and go from palliative care as their circumstances change.
However, if you decide to quit seeking a cure and your doctor believes you have only a few months to live, you can enter hospice care. Hospice is an essential component of palliative care, yet hospice is simply a subset of the greater discipline.
If your family members also require assistance, palliative care can provide emotional and spiritual support, educate them about your condition, and assist them in their role as carers. Some palliative care organisations provide shopping, meal preparation assistance, and respite care for caregivers.
Palliative care is a method that improves the quality of life for patients (adults and children) and their families who are coping with issues related to terminal disease. It prevents and alleviates suffering through early detection, accurate assessment, and treatment of physical, psychosocial, and spiritual pain and other disorders.
To alleviate pain, one must address concerns beyond physical symptoms. Palliative care employs a team-based approach to aid patients and carers. This includes meeting basic needs and offering grief counselling. It provides a support structure to assist patients in living as actively as possible till their demise.
Under the human right to health, palliative care is expressly recognised. It should be offered through person-centered. And integrated health services that pay particular attention to each individual’s unique requirements and preferences.
Numerous disorders necessitate palliative treatment. The majority of persons requiring palliative care suffer from chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease (38.5%), cancer (34%), chronic respiratory illness (10.3%), AIDS (5.7%), and diabetes (4.5%). Kidney failure, chronic liver illness, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neurological disease, dementia, congenital disabilities, and drug-resistant tuberculosis may necessitate palliative care.
Pain and breathing difficulties are two of the most common and significant symptoms encountered by individuals requiring palliative care. At the end of their lives, 80% of patients with AIDS or cancer and 67% with cardiovascular disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will feel moderate to severe pain. Opioids are crucial for pain management.
Opioids can also reduce other distressing physical symptoms, such as shortness of breath. To alleviate suffering and uphold a person’s dignity, it is a moral obligation to treat these symptoms early on.
Which diseases are treatable by palliative care?
Initially, palliative care was designed for patients with terminal conditions. In the past decade, however. It has evolved into a field of medicine focusing on a broader variety of serious or life-threatening illnesses.
According to the World Health Organization, “everyone has the right to receive high-quality treatment during serious illness and to die with dignity, free of unbearable pain and by their spiritual and religious values.”
Patients with cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other serious conditions can now get palliative care.
Symptom management is one of the key objectives. Both the disease and its treatment may produce symptoms. Nausea and vomiting, for instance, are side effects of some chemotherapy drugs. Further, narcotic pain relievers frequently result in bowel inactivity.
By alleviating numerous symptoms, palliative care can enable you to continue with your regular activity and also enhance your capacity to undertake or complete medical treatments.
Here are some symptoms that may be treated by palliative care:
- Sickness and vomiting
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Appetite loss, weight loss, or withering
- Breathlessness or laborious breathing
- Delirium or mental confusion
- Having trouble sleeping
When am I able to begin palliative care?
You can begin palliative care at any stage of your disease after receiving a diagnosis and initiating therapy. You do not have to wait until your condition has progressed or you are in your final months of life. The sooner palliative care is initiated, the better. At the outset of treatment, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, and discomfort can develop. Palliative care professionals can help you and your family cope with the challenges you and your family endure.
Consult your physician regarding a referral to palliative care. Patients often receive palliative care in hospitals, but services can also be provided in the patient’s home, a hospice, or a long-term care facility.