Palliative care

Specialty of Geriatrics

What is it?      

The main aim of palliative care is to help people with a serious condition feel better. Many patients may have a terminal illness, a condition with no treatment available, or serious condition with life-prolonging treatment.

The following treatments are used to treat symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment:  

  • Pain management
  • Treating anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea, diarrhoea, or constipation  
  • Loss of appetite
  • Social aspects due to the impact of the disease or treatment.         

What is it for?

Palliative care aims to prevent and alleviate suffering during a serious illness. It provides patients with a better quality of life in their difficult circumstances. The wellbeing sought is for the patient as well as their family.   

Some conditions that require this care most often include:

  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Advanced heart failure
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Progressive neurological disorders.

What does it involve?

Palliative care can be provided by any healthcare professional: a team of specialists, nutritionists, nurses, psychologists, and more. In many cases, the healthcare professional is specialised in the treatment.

Palliative care may vary according to the condition which is being treated and may include:

  • Medications
  • Physiotherapy   
  • Nutritional guidance
  • Occupational therapy
  • Integrative therapy.  

How to prepare for it

The patient, and their loved ones, should be aware of the seriousness of the condition, as well as the prognosis and the treatment options available to them. It is important to trust the medical team to help ensure the best quality of life possible. 

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