What you need to know about palliative care
Palliative care, also known as end of life care, is a service that is designed to support people with illnesses or medical conditions that are likely terminal in the last months or years of their life. Its purpose is to make their remaining time comfortable and dignified, preserving quality of life at as high a standard as possible.
The palliative care process is often regarded as holistic – involving a range of treatments and support techniques that are applied depending on the specific needs of the patient. These include administering pain relief medicine, developing strategies to deal with other distressing symptoms, and providing psychological support. Some palliative carers will go beyond the typical remit and also provide emotional guidance to family and carers, advice on social and financial issues, and spiritual support.
You can choose to begin palliative care for yourself or a loved one whenever you feel it’s needed to maintain quality of life. Once it’s started, the process can last weeks, months, or even years, and is applicable in all settings, including hospitals, hospices, and homes. And while it’s most often applied to people nearing the end of their life, it can also be used as part of a broader care programme while patients are going through treatments such as chemotherapy.
Palliative carers can come from all sorts of medical backgrounds, including nursing. Some services will even put together multi-disciplinary palliative care teams that integrate specialists in disciplines like occupational therapy, dieticians, or physiotherapy to provide a broad base of knowledge in delivering the best care possible.
If you’re looking for a palliative care service for yourself or a loved one who’s nearing the end of their life, find the right option with My Health Assistant.