Palliative care – a way of improving the quality of life

Palliative care has the role of relieving the suffering of the patients and their families by assessing and treating their psychological, physical and spiritual symptoms. When death is the following stage, a patient needs more attention from his palliative team. For the person with a life-limiting disease the palliate team’s aim is to achieve the best quality of life for the present situation, and support the family members. Palliative care has as a focus anticipating, diagnosing, preventing and treating the symptoms of the patients that have a life threatening illness and helps the family to make the important decisions about the treatment options for the patient.

A palliative team includes the patient, his family, the palliative doctor, other doctors, nurses, social worker, pharmacists, the patient’s chaplain, the physical therapist, the dietician and other people. This team focuses on prescribing medicines to control the pain; assists the family in taking the difficult medical decisions, for example choosing a certain treatment; communicates with the other doctors and helps the patient navigate in the healthcare system. They will make a plan for the patient to help him living good in the present circumstances and provides the patient and his family spiritual and emotional support. They meet with the patient regularly and usually the nurse is the person who communicates with him frequently to see what his needs are.

The palliative care is provided for the patient in any stage of his illness and usually is covered by the medical insurance. It can be received at home or in an institution like hospital or nursing home. The palliative care it fills the gaps from the regular treatment of the patient, and provides him comfort no matter if the stage of his illness is terminal or chronic. There are often used the life-prolonging therapies. However, there are care programs that concentrate only on the end-of-life care. The palliative team purpose is to affirm life and treat death as a normal process. They neither delay nor hasten life, just provide relief from pain and offer support to help people live as normal as they can until death. They customize their services for every person’s need, and offer support to the family, teaching them to act as bravely as possibly in the present situation. Some of the diseases that require palliate care are HIV/AIDS, cancer, muscular dystrophy, motor neurone disease, end-stage dementia and multiple sclerosis.