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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is an interdisciplinary approach provided by a medical team to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from chronic disease or life-threatening illnesses. The team approach also focuses on the patients' caregivers and their families to address health's psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects.

The burden of chronic disease is increasing globally. According to the World Health Organization, about 40 million people require palliative care every year, out of which only 14% can receive it. An estimated 78% of this cohort belong to low- and middle-income countries.

Palliative care aims to;

  • Early identify an illness

  • Correct assessment of a patient’s health requirements

  • Addressing symptoms as chronic pain and other practical needs

  • Bereavement counseling of the patient as well their families

  • Emotional support to the caregivers

The World Health Organization terms palliative care as one of the human health rights. Its benchmarks include integrated health services that are subjectively centered, catering to specific needs and preferences of individuals.

Some of the diseases that palliative care umbrellas are;

  • Cardiovascular diseases

  • Cancer

  • Chronic respiratory diseases

  • AIDS

  • Diabetes

  • Chronic kidney failure

  • Chronic liver disease

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Neurological disease

  • Dementia

  • Congenital anomalies

  • Drug-resistant tuberculosis

Pain and breathing difficulty are the two most common and serious symptoms addressed by palliative care. Palliative care addresses other symptoms as;

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Constipation

  • Nausea

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Anxiety

Palliative care is a joint effort of a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses, and other allied health specialists. They all work together to provide an extra layer of support to the therapeutic approach.

It must be appreciated that palliative care focuses on the patient's needs and not on the disease prognosis. This ensures quality services as long as the patient is alive.

Palliative therapy is appropriate for individuals of any age. Since it caters to the patient's needs, it is suitable for all stages of any serious illness. The success of a curative treatment has no impact on palliative care.

Besides improving the quality of life for a patient, palliative therapy helps to match the treatment options for a specific condition with the health goals. The team at work ensures that the healthcare unit understands and appreciates the patient's needs. This enables the patient to be more in control of their treatment protocols.

It is observed that many elderly spend their last days in nursing homes and hospitals without receiving care that is consistent with their requests and demands. Palliative care helps the elderly plan and communicate with their caregivers, doctors, and family members and let them know their health preferences well in advance.

In instances where the elderly want to spend the last days at home, palliative care helps make arrangements under the supervision of healthcare providers, caregivers, and family members.

The setting of palliative care can be hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and homes.

Ensuring your loved ones spend their living days in the best of their health and spirit is what palliative care is all about. To learn how Long Life Care Management can provide palliative care for your care, schedule a consultation with us today.

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