If there is a medical treatment that provides support for people with serious illnesses or has a major impact on life, it is called palliative care. In this type of treatment, the focus is on improving the quality of life of the sufferer and is usually not focused on healing. Not only physically, but also emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
Palliative Care Definition
Palliative care is the treatment of a patient and his family who has an incurable disease by maximizing the patient’s quality of life as well as reducing annoying symptoms, reducing pain by paying attention to psychological and spiritual aspects. The treatment also provides a support system to help the patient’s family deal with the deaths of loved ones in the mourning process. It starts with a diagnosed disease.
Palliative care is an active and comprehensive, integrated health care, with a multidisciplinary approach integrated between doctors, nurses, therapists, social-medical personnel, psychologists, clergy, volunteers, and other necessary professions.
The World Health Organization defines Palliative Care as:
“Approaches that improve the quality of life of patients and their families, in dealing with problems related to life-threatening diseases, through prevention and measures that alleviate suffering, through early identification, thorough assessment, as well as the handling of pain and other problems, such as physical, psychosocial, and spiritual issues.”
Palliative Care Background
The background of the need for palliative care is due to the increasing number of patients with incurable diseases in both older persons and children, such as cancer, degenerative diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, stroke, Parkinson’s, heart failure, genetic diseases and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS that require palliative care, in addition to promotional, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative activities.
Types of palliative care services
- Palliative Care Consultation.
- Pain Management.
- Other Disease Management, Primary Disease Participants.
- Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Guidance, Grief (mourning).
- Preparation of Family’s Ability to Care for Patients at Home.
- Periodic home visits, According to The Needs of Patients & Families.
- Care Guidance For Patients & Families.
- Nursing Care For Patients With Wounds, Gastrostomy, Colostomy, Food Hoses (NGT), Catheters, etc.
- Helping Provide Nurses.
- Assisting the Provision of Caregivers.
- Help Readiness To Face The End of Life Quietly and In Faith.
Palliative Care Goals
Palliative care is most commonly given to people with cancer, dementia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Some of the objectives of palliative care are:
- Relieves symptoms and side effects of treatment
- Make the patient more aware of the disease that he/she suffers from
- Assist in facilitating practical and spiritual needs
- Helps understand the feelings and changes caused by the disease suffered
- Accompanying in choosing treatment options
- Identify additional resources as a form of support.
The role of the family in palliative care
When the patient is decided to go home from the hospital and continue treatment at home, that is where it is expected that the importance of the family’s role is added. At this stage, the family must receive all specific information about the sick family members.
There are several things that must be considered by families related to palliative care, namely:
Ask the palliative care team how effective communication is for cancer patients or other terminal illnesses, so that the patient feels given enough attention for his last days.
Healthy food and drink
Patients should still get nutritious food, for example through the mouth or hose attached from the nose to the stomach.
Adaptation of the dwelling
With the state of the patient, there are several adaptations of the dwelling that must be adjusted to the conditions at the time.
Maintaining and improving movement
Patients can’t just stay in one position, even if they have to be bedridden for most of the time.
An uncomfortable environment for the patient will cause a variety of problems, ranging from physical as well as psychic. Even healthy people don’t want a dirty, unkempt environment, do they?
Comfort in bed
Give comfort to the patient’s resting place, where he will most likely spend a lot of time.
All of these matters should be discussed with the palliative care team at the hospital before the family decides to take the patient home.
When to consider palliative care?
Palliative care is usually intended solely for people with cancer, as an option for treatment at the end of life. Nowadays, more and more are recommended for people who have prolonged (chronic) diseases, such as kidney failure, pulmonary disease, nervous disorders, heart failure, and even immunocompromised conditions such as HIV and AIDS.
Any patient with a serious illness or who is experiencing pain or distress may consider palliative care. This treatment can be given to older persons and children. Palliative care may not only improve a person’s quality of life, but can also help in prolonging it.