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Importance of Palliative Care Importance of Palliative Care

Importance of Palliative Care


Surya Hospital

January 17, 2024 |
9 Min Read | 221

Over the past decades, palliative care has grabbed a lot of attention in the field of medicine as it has phenomenally upgraded the quality of care, especially for people fighting serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The best thing about palliative care is that it works for anyone, no matter how serious the problem is. 

If you, or someone you know is living with a chronic medical illness, it is not hard for you to understand how challenging it can get at times. Many people just crave comfort and understanding during this tough phase and this is why they choose to go for palliative care, which offers personalized care, support and guidance, through various stages of their illness. 

In this blog, we have shed light on the importance of palliative care, to make it easier for you to understand how it can help you or your loved ones. Continue reading to learn more.  

Does Palliative Care Mean That There is no Other Treatment?

People often confuse palliative care and hospice care. While the former focuses on helping patients at any stage of the disease, the latter focuses on helping those who require end-of-life care due to a terminal illness. If doctors have recommended palliative care, it does not mean that there is no treatment to help you. Palliative care is given with your standard treatment to make sure that your symptoms do not interfere with the quality of your life, even during the course of your treatment.

  • Palliative care can help people living with chronic illnesses like:
  • Cardiovascular ailments
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory Diseases 
  • Chronic hepatic and renal diseases
  • Diabetes
  • AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Degenerative Neurological Diseases 

Palliative Care Team:

Your palliative care team comprises dedicated experts who are committed to catering to your medical as well as non-medical needs, to ensure a smooth sailing experience. It consists of:

  • Healthcare professionals and general practitioners, who collaborate with your specialist to ensure the best care while following a personalized approach.
  • Specialized nurses look after you and make sure that you are taking your medication and meals on time. This is especially helpful for people who are on nutritional support.
  • Professional caregivers who are committed to making your life easier by looking after your non-medical needs and providing emotional support in the most difficult times.
  • Counselors and psychologists to help you deal with the psychological challenges, stress and anxiety caused by the illness. 

Why is Palliative Care Important? 

Many of you must be thinking what is the need for palliative care when you are already undergoing treatment for a medical condition. Well, living with a chronic medical illness and undergoing treatment for the same is not easy for everyone. It can be an overwhelming experience that can often drain you physically and mentally. Sometimes, it is not only the disease that you have to worry about but also the side effects of the treatment. Palliative care helps to enhance the quality of the patient's life as well as makes it possible for their families to cope with the daily challenges. 

With pain and other symptoms persistently affecting your ability to indulge in normal day-to-day activities, you are forced to lead a compromised life. This is exactly where palliative care comes in handy. It can help you manage such symptoms and side effects, ensuring you lead a better quality of life. You do not need to wait for the condition to aggravate to seek palliative care. You can opt for it from the very beginning and the sooner you start, the better it is. So, if you are still thinking why do people choose palliative care? It is because they want to take charge of their lives. 

Palliative Care is Important for the Following Reasons: 

  • It helps to improve the quality of the patient’s life by providing effective measures for relieving pain and other symptoms. It also focuses on the management of the emotional and mental well-being of the patient.
  • Palliative care follows a holistic approach to helping the patients. It is not just limited to the physical aspects but mental and psychological as well. 
  • Palliative care follows a patient-centric approach and is tailored to suit the individual needs of the patients.
  • Palliative care supports transparency, making sure that the patient and their families are empowered with reliable information throughout treatment.
  • Palliative care can be started during the initial stages of the disease to improve prognosis and enhance the outcome of the treatment
  • Palliative care also helps the patient’s family members to deal with the emotional and psychological strain that they may face while taking care of their loved one. 
  • Palliative care may help to slow down the progress of the disease, helping you avoid unnecessary expenditure on medication, treatment and hospitalizations.

What is the Aim of Palliative Care?

The aim of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of the patient as well as their family members by helping them manage symptoms like pain and discomfort caused by a medical condition or the treatment that one is undergoing for it

Palliative care also aims to help people manage the emotional challenges that they may face after diagnosis or during the course of treatments, such as stress, anxiety and depression. 

Palliative care also aims to ease the life of people struggling with chronic ailments, by helping them overcome challenges they face on a daily basis owing to their illness and its progression. The patients are provided with all the assistance they need in moving around and carrying out their day-to-day tasks. While it can be quite difficult to choose which path you want to take ahead, in the course of your treatment, palliative care helps patients and their families to make well-informed choices related to the treatment by guiding them every step of the way. 

What does Palliative Care Involve?

Palliative care involves a variety of techniques and measures to help the patients. These include:

  • Various strategies for managing pain, which involves medicines and therapies
  • Assessing and managing various symptoms that the patient is experiencing, such problems related to breathing and nausea
  • Openly communicating with the patients and their families to ensure transparency
  • Therapies and alternative treatments for patients who are not responding to the medication
  • Use of assistive devices to help the patients move around improve the quality of life
  • End-of-life support for patients who are terminally ill and support for them and their loved ones. 

How Does Palliative Care Work? The 5 Stages 

If you are convinced that you should be considering palliative care for yourself or your loved one, here are 5 stages that you should be aware of. 

  • Stage 1 is the Stable stage and it starts soon after the person receives the diagnosis. The focus of this stage is on curating and implementing a proper plan to help patients. As this is the initial stage, the care keeps on evolving as the disease progresses. This will cover various aspects like your present treatment plan, expected prognosis, medication and lifestyle modifications.
  • Stage 2 is the Unstable stage and it involves making necessary adjustments in the initial treatment plan, based on the severity of the symptoms, which keeps on aggravating with time. During this phase, you will be also prepared mentally to help with the emotional and psychological impact of the disease
  • Stage 3 is the transitional phase that marks the shift towards hospice care. Focus is laid on making the patients feel better with effective management of their symptoms and helping them emotionally and spiritually. 
  • Stage 4 is for terminal illness and focuses on catering to the needs of the patients who no longer respond to treatment and have become bedridden. The aim is to ensure holistic care and provide proper nutritional support.
  • Stage 5 is bereavement, where family members and loved ones are given counselling to help them cope with the reality of the situation and prepare them for the departure of their loved one. 
     

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