In earlier days, people suffering from serious, chronic or terminal illnesses were more or less resigned to their fate and had to deal with the pain and agony of the disease although medical support that was available. This was because of lack of availability of intelligence on how to treat intricate symptoms of such diseases so as to elevate the quality of life of such patients. However, with advancements in medical studies and research, today a subject called Palliative Care has come to the forefront when it comes to managing such diseases. It adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, aims to work towards ameliorating painful symptoms of patients and also providing succour to the family members and dependents of patients.
Initial perceptions of palliative care treatment were connected to advanced stage cancer alone. However, this is a medical path that is available to treat and manage people with AIDS, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, etc. as well. This type of care is delivered through a trained team of doctors, nurses, psychiatrists or psychologists, dieticians and other specialists who diligently treat their patients based on the nature of the disease, age of the patient and other determining factors.
Specific features of Palliative Care that make it a special field in medical studies:
- Palliative care is not restricted to terminal illnesses
This type of care is delivered even to patients who have serious illnesses but who are not necessarily in their terminal stages. Many patients receive care and return to their homes.
- Customized care for different medical cases
Different patients have different requirements with respect to their treatment and quality of life they desire. Some of them ask for the best possible quality of life irrespective of the number of days they have left, in case of terminally ill patients. Some others wish to live long with the best quality of life possible. Thus, the palliative care team consults the patient and his/her family in order to design best treatment procedures conducive to their wishes. Medical procedures to reduce pain, psychiatric support for the patient and family members, a positive environment with trained caregivers taking charge of day to day routines of patients and compassionate doctors foster this kind of treatment.
- Strong communication strategy with the patient’s family and friends
The team will be put together based on the case in hand and they meticulously design treatment methods based on the requirements of the patient. This is done through spending time with the patient and his/her family members and thoroughly understanding and assessing their emotions and requirements. All medical procedures and available options are laid out for them so as to help them choose the best suitable route to satisfactorily receiving treatment.
- Holistic Approach
Palliative care encompasses all realms of medical treatment that need to be offered to patients suffering from serious diseases and painful symptoms. Their services generally include educating patients and their family members on treatment and medication, providing comfort not only to patients and their families but also to the caregivers who work round-the-clock and also making available palliative care training options available to those who wish to get on board.