Palliative care

August 2017


Definition


Palliative care is a very modern type of care that provides both an ongoing follow-up of treatments already in place, but also the support of a patient and his entourage during the progression of a disease. Palliative care does not seek to treat, but is limited to symptom relief and support for patients nearing the end of their life in a hospital or at home. Palliative care is given when there is no hope of healing the patient. The goal is to ensure that the latter has the best possible quality of life during his remaining days and lives with dignity. Palliative care combines the management of painful symptoms, comfort, and psychological support of the patient but also his immediate family. The desires of the patient and the family must be understood and implemented as soon as possible. Depending on the pathology and the treatment modalities necessary, palliative care can be in hospital, specialized structures, or at home.

Diagnosis


Determining whether a patient can benefit or not from palliative care is a decision involving medical and allied health professionals such as nurses, as well as the patient himself or his family.

Who is affected?


Patients who may benefit from palliative care are those whose health is extremely degenerative. Mostly concerned are those patients:
  • nearing the end of life;
  • suffering from a serious or terminal illness;
  • who are victims of serious accidents with irreversible damage.

Treatment


With palliative care, medical teams now have the opportunity and especially the duty to improve the quality of life for patients. To do this:
  • pain is treated and should be evaluated frequently to adapt the drugs used and their doses;
  • mental suffering will be addressed with the intervention of a psychologist; anxiety medications or antidepressants may be used;
  • non-essential drugs should be stopped;
  • side effects are reduced or eliminated to the maximum with the use of drugs against vomiting or allowing an improvement of the respiratory condition;
  • comfort care is provided, such as hygiene, diet aid, cleanliness;
  • the patient's family is also accompanied and supported.

Related

Original article published by Jeff. Translated by Jeff. Latest update on July 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM by Jeff.
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