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Comprehensive Palliative Care: Alleviating Pain and Enhancing Quality of Life for Patients with Serious Illnesses

Comprehensive Palliative Care: Alleviating Pain and Enhancing Quality of Life for Patients with Serious Illnesses

Palliative care is a term used to refer to specialized medical care for people suffering from serious ailments. It focuses on offering patients relief from pain, symptoms, and the stress of a serious ailment. This is usually done irrespective of whatever diagnosis was carried out. The major objective of palliative care is to enhance the quality of life led by patients’ families and the patients themselves. This kind of care to patients is provided by nurses, specialists and a team of doctors who work in partnership with other doctors of the patient to offer an extra notch of support. Palliative care has been proven to be suitable for all ages and stages while in serious ailment. It can be offered alongside curative treatment. All these are attempts to have the patient understand their condition and their choices for care. Palliative care is also intended to enhance the ability of the patient to undergo medical treatment.

Treatments and medications can contain a palliative impact if they offer relief to symptoms without imposing a curative impact on the causative disease. For instance, using morphine to treat pain from a broken leg is an example of a palliative care application. Although this concept of palliative care has existed for quite a long time, many physicians have focused on the Stone Age tradition of trying to offer curative measures to patients. Offering treatment with the main objective of alleviating symptoms was dismissed as hazardous and was also looked at as a means of attracting addiction as well as other undesirable side effects. However, the focus on patients’ quality of life has increased dramatically over the recent two decades, with most hospitals offering programs to do with palliative care. Besides relieving pain, palliative care will also affirm life and regard death as normal. Palliative care never intends to postpone or hasten death but prepares patients with serious illnesses for it if deemed inevitable.

Unlike palliative care, emergency nursing is a specialty where medical practitioners care for patients who are usually in life-threatening conditions with an underlying intention of administering a curative process. Emergency nursing deals with patients who have not undergone any diagnosis procedure, which means that the causative problem has not been established or known. Therefore, nurses in the emergency department are made to frequently contact patients in emergency departments before a physician attends to such patients. The nurses serving in emergencies have to be able to recognize a life-threatening disease early enough, apply advanced treatment and monitoring equipment, and order medication and testing according to the standing orders stipulated by the emergency physician staff of a hospital.

Philosophy of Palliative Care

Palliative care is a commitment to offering active wholesome care to patients ailing from diseases that are irresponsive to curative treatments. It is paramount in controlling pain and other symptoms and assisting patients’ social, spiritual and psychological difficulties. Palliative care has also been streamlined to achieve the best life standard for families and patients. This is usually evident in its role of offering a support system to assist the families of patients in coping with the ailing conditions of their loved ones. Such a support system has also been extended to the bereaved in cases of death as part of palliative care.

Part of the philosophy of palliative care is the requirement for all nurses offering such care to do their duties with high professionalism. This is aimed at making it as effective as possible through providing kindness, trust, support and honesty, irrespective of age, sex, religion or culture.

Patient’s Case Study in Palliative Care

On the first visit, the patient is usually in the company of their family members. Together, the patient’s family, nurse, palliative care physician, and the patient embark on the identification of any spiritual, physical, social, financial and emotional difficulty, and they come up with a personalized care plan, and that will address the problems. It is usually common that patients requiring palliative care to experience more than a single problem. In such a case, palliative care physicians must establish an approach to address each problem. Palliative care should be multidisciplinary to include nurses, social workers, counselors, doctors, occupational and physical therapists, and chaplains tasked with various tasks as part of palliative care. Most of these experts will attend to patients during their initial visits.

Controlling Pain and Symptoms

The ultimate aim of controlling pain in palliative care is to make a patient as pain-free as possible and to maintain such pain under restriction. Management of pain and symptom is an integral component of palliative care. This has been rated as one of the most crucial components of palliative care by several patients, irrespective of whether they are in hospitals or at home. Palliative care physicians and specialists partner with all the stakeholders in managing and treating pain. They usually follow a coordinated plan in this procedure. Patients undergoing palliative care should always be advised to inform their doctor about any new pain, even when they purport to understand the cause of such pain. This is important because of the common knowledge that if the pain is treated early, such pain may subsequently be controlled with less treatment or medication.

Dealing With Grief and Death in Palliative Care

Loss and grief are experienced both during the ailment continuum and during bereavement. Loss is a common experience in life, but its experience usually varies from person to person. Giving support to people during loss, bereavement, and grief usually involves attending to several contributing factors and possible experiences. Palliative care responds to grief, loss and bereavement encounters by seeking answers to several questions from the family members. Such questions will include the changes experienced by the family members due to the loss encountered, current physical feelings, feelings and thoughts experienced in the recent past, and seeking to know whom the family members share their thoughts with. All this is usually intended to help the family members accept and cope with the loss situation in their lives. Palliative physicians should also seek to establish some important decisions that the family members will make to assist them in managing their desperate moments.

📎 References

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