Palliative care is an approach aimed at improving the quality of life of the patient and his/her family members who are facing a life-threatening illness. The goal is achieved by alleviating and preventing suffering, which means early detection, assessment and relief of pain and other painful symptoms, as well as the provision of psychological, social and spiritual help.
Thus, palliative care consists of two components. The first is to alleviate the suffering of the patient throughout the entire period of the disease (along with radical treatment); the second is medical care in the last months, days, and hours of life. The task of palliative care is to ensure the best possible quality of life for the patient. Death, in this case, is considered as a natural process. Palliative medicine has no intention of delaying or bringing its offensive closer. Palliative care should be provided to all patients, without exception, with an unfavorable prognosis for life. According to statistics, 1.6 million people die of cancer each year in Europe. 320 thousand patients need palliative care at the same time. Effective palliative care can be organized in close cooperation of specialized medical institutions with representatives of alternative or voluntary organizations.
Palliative approaches and methods
Palliative care includes three approaches, each of which is important for achieving the maximum effect.
Pain relief and symptomatic therapy
Symptomatic therapy is aimed at combating pain and other somatic manifestations. It aims to ensure the most satisfactory quality of life with a minimum favorable prognosis. Usually, pain occurs already in the last stage of the disease, losing its physiological protective function and becoming an extremely burdensome factor. In some cases, it is associated with a tumor, may be constant or appear periodically. To effectively relieve pain, it is necessary to properly assess its nature, develop therapeutic tactics and provide ongoing care. The most accessible and easiest way to relieve pain is pharmacotherapy. Intake of the necessary drug in the correct dosage and at regular intervals is effective in 80% of cases. My Canadian Pharmacy offers a range of palliative care drugs that help relieve pain and other severe symptoms. Contact the pharmacy team for more information.
A patient is constantly in a stressful situation. Severe illness, changes in the usual living conditions, hospitalization, complex surgery and treatment, disability, the threat of death negatively affect the psychological state of a person. The patient is not able to adapt to the new conditions of existence, he/she constantly feels a sense of fear, doom, which adversely affects the general condition. The relatives of the patient are also influenced by stress and are unable to provide psychological support. Professional psychologists can provide quality palliative care for the patient and his/her relatives. Also volunteers can participate in the work, filling the patient with a lack of communication. If a patient needs spiritual support, he/she is visited by a clergyman. At the request of the patient, religious rites can be held.
Psychological problems can be exacerbated by social difficulties associated with the costs of treatment and care. 80% of patients in a severe stage have material problems, 40% need improved housing conditions. At the same time, two-thirds of patients do not have information on available social assistance. When organizing palliative care, it is necessary to provide social support to the patient and his family members. At the same time, it is recommended to include in the functions of a social work specialist: diagnosis of the patient’s social problems; developing together with the doctors an individual social rehabilitation plan; carrying out social security, support, home appliances; informing the patient about the rights and benefits and assistance in obtaining them; organization and conduct of medical and social expertise.
Although palliative care cannot cure a patient, it still has a positive effect on his general condition. Besides medical manipulations, a great role in alleviating suffering is also played by competent care of the incurably ill and simply the elderly. Relatives are not always able to provide such care: they are forced to be distracted by work, to other daily activities; and there state simply not enough hospices. The way out of a difficult situation may become a private specialized institution for the care of terminally ill and elderly people.