Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
- It puts the patients goals, desires, and decisions first
- Improves quality of life by focusing on the care of the whole individual (body, mind and spirit)
- Improves communication between patients, their families, other caregivers and healthcare providers
- Helps patients and families understand treatment goals and plan
- Provides control of pain and other distressing symptoms,thus enabling comfort
- Reduces unnecessary investigations and hospital visits through home based care and other follow up methods
- Enables patients to maintain connections with families and friends
- Adds quality life to days and not just days to life by reducing pain and suffering.
WHO CAN BENEFIT?
All patients with serious illnesses – children, adults, elderly with their families and caregivers.
From the point of diagnosis of serious illness (cancer, HIV/AIDS, stroke and neurological diseases, Organ failures – liver, kidney, lungs etc )throughout the illness and especially towards the end-of-life and bereavement.
Series I – Pain relief methods
ASK ABOUT THE PAIN AND BELIEVE THE PATIENT
Assess and re-assess after treatment as appropriate using:
- Pain-relieving medicines
- Physical therapies such as massage, heat or cold packs, exercise and hydrotherapy
- Psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques and meditation
- Mind and body techniques such as acupuncture
- Occupational therapy
- Community support groups