What Is Palliative Care ?  

If you are wondering what is palliative care, read on to find the answer. It refers to special kind of treatment that looks to improve the quality of life of a person suffering from a life-threatening illness. However, the care is also extended to the family of the patient. The main aim of the treatment is to alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with the illness, while ensuring that the patient continues receiving treatment for the illness.

Palliative care covers a whole gamut of care. It takes care of the physical self, spiritual self and emotional self of the patient and patient’s family. It looks to relieve symptoms that the patient suffers during the course of the treatment. Many patients suffer from pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and appetite loss during life threatening illnesses and subsequent treatment. Such symptoms are controlled or reduced through palliative care and care is taken that the overall quality of life of the patient and family improves.

While many people associate palliative care with terminal illness, it can also be given in case of non-terminal but serious illness or injury. During this type of care, the regular treatment for the illness continues, but the care itself concentrates on relieving the symptoms brought on by the illness. It does not offer a cure for the illness. When the symptoms of the illness are taken care of, the patient is more comfortable and this can have an effect on they respond to the treatment for the illness.

Furthermore, palliative care extends emotional support to the family, so that they can emotionally and physically handle their loved one being serious ill. If the person does have a terminal illness, then this support can help the family through the process of watching their loved one dying and thereafter coping with the bereavement.

Compassion and respecting the wishes of the patient are the hallmark of palliative care. By ensuring that the patients are comfortable, palliative care ensures complete wellbeing of the patient. It puts the needs of the patient and the family first, ensuring that their wishes are respected.

Palliative care is not given by a single healthcare professional. Instead a team comprising of doctors, specialists, nurses, therapists, nutritionists, counselors and spiritual leaders work together to make the patient feel more comfortable and at ease. The care views death as a natural part of life and does not interfere with the process. At the same time, the care will not do anything to hasten death.

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Hospice Versus Palliative Care      When a person is diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness, the person has two options available for treatment. One is hospice care and the other is palliative care. People should understand the difference between the two in order to make the best decision for the patient. Hospice and palliative care both concentrate on improving the patient’s health or in ensuring that the quality of life of the patient is improved. A hospice can offer palliative care, but it is not necessary that the patient will succumb to the illness. More..




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