What is Palliative Care?

Meaning of Palliative Care

Palliative care is providing pain relief to a person with a serious or life-threatening illness.

The focus is symptom and pain management, as well as mental and emotional health, and assistance with spiritual needs. It does not focus on death, but on the compassionate quality of life for the living. In addition, it provides care and support to family members and loved ones of the patient receiving treatment.

A person with a serious illness can receive palliative care in the comfort of their home.

This type of care is generally considered therapy or action designed to relieve, rather than cure, painful or debilitating symptoms caused by a terminal illness or its treatment.

For example, while there are treatments for cancer and AIDS that can prolong life or even cure the patient, palliative care relieves pain, nausea, and other side effects caused by the treatment or the disease itself.

In the not too distant past, healthcare professionals focused primarily on curing disease, regardless of the cost to the patient. Only in the last century have we found effective anesthesia and pain relievers that give patients some relief from the agony of trauma, surgery, and terminal illness.

Palliative care can be given in a hospital, hospice, or at home.

The term comes from the Latin palliatus, meaning “undercover.” The idea is that palliative care does not cure or treat, but instead covers up or covers up the pain and other unpleasant side effects of illness and terminal illness. The root of the word, palliate, actually means “to relieve without curing.”

This is not to say that palliative care and healing are completely exclusive; rather, the goal is relief, not cure.

Palliative care focuses on keeping patients comfortable during the course of their terminal illness.

Palliative care has been very useful in defusing the controversy of voluntary physician-assisted suicide. It can be the difference between a smooth and peaceful passage from life to death and one in which the patient suffers so much and for so long that euthanasia seems to be the only humane alternative.

Those who live in long-term care facilities may be trained to provide palliative care.

Care may begin in a hospital, hospice, or at home. While palliative care is in widespread medical use, as with all medical issues, patients may need to speak for themselves or have an advocate speak on their behalf in order to receive it. It is available and can improve the patient’s quality of life.

Hospice facilities often help patients’ families with emotional support.

Palliative care focuses on relieving patients’ pain.

Employees of a hospice facility may need to show great compassion for the residents.

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