Author(s): Wayne J. M. Karim
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Definition of Palliative care:
“Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients
and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness,
through the prevention and relief of suffering by interdisciplinary team
taking into consideration physiological, psychosocial, and spiritual needs”.
Suffering: Suffering is loss of meaning. Suffering occurs when there is a gap
between expectation and reality.
Principles of palliative care:
Focus on quality rather than quantity of life. Effective communication at all
levels. Respect for autonomy and choice. Effective symptom management.
Holistic, multi-professional approach. Caring about the person and family.
It is the right of the patients not to feel pain, suffering or fear at all stages of the disease:Palliative care is adding life to days. NOT adding days to life. It is
the right of the patients not to feel pain, suffering or fear at all stages of the
disease. Holistic approach is essentials for the relieve of suffering.
Pain is an important and under-treated symptom of life-threatening illness.
Correct use of analgesic medication, following the guidelines of the WHO
step ladder, with the addition of adjuvant analgesics, should control the
pain in nearly all cases. Attention should also be given to other aspects of
pain, psychosocial or spiritual; sometimes called “total pain”. Bringing pain
under control and keeping it there means assessing each aspect of pain and
monitoring it. These are core skills of palliative care doctors and nurses.
Medications are the foundation of pain control. Anti-inflammatory, antidepressant
and steroid medication may also have a complementary role for
some patients and some sources of pain. Complementary measures are used
as well as medical treatments.