Does Palliative Care Always Mean Death?
Many people fall into despair when it comes to dealing with palliative care and are convinced that this refers to very close death. Palliative care is not meant just for the patients, suffering from a terminal illness. This type of care is not equal to hospice care.
Palliative care engages a large number of patients who suffer from diseases which endanger human life or from terminal diseases. This care assists people in their attempts to effectively meet their health care objectives. Palliative care is aimed at the enhancement of quality of living in all patients regardless of their age, severity of medical condition, and stage of disease. Palliative care implies the combination of disease manifestation management and psychological support for both the patients and their family members.
So, the availability of a life-threatening condition which requires palliative care doesn’t mean that this condition can’t be treated and should obligatorily end with death. That’s why the patients shouldn’t under any circumstances avoid this crucial part of their treatment strategy. To the contrary, palliative care greatly contributes to the success of even most serious disease treatment.
Who Provides End-of-Life Care and Palliative Care?
The obligations and tasks of end-of-life care and palliative care are mostly assigned to physicians who continue the treatment of a particular patient for many years, often much prior to the development of a life-threatening illness. That’s why a physician who perfectly knows the medical history and current state of health of the patient is first of all and obligatorily involved in the provision of end-of-life care and palliative care.
But typically, the interdisciplinary team is responsible for end-of-life care and palliative care. This team consists not just of the doctors who are focused on palliative medicine but also of nurses, social workers, volunteers, pharmacists, and nutrition specialists. The latter ones may recommend the patients natural appetite suppressants to overcome the overweight that may accompany the illnesses, requiring palliative care. By the way, morbidly obese individuals may also need palliative care. And the intake of natural fat burners can be a part of such care.
Generally, palliative doctors specialize on relieving sufferings and maintaining belief in successful treatment in patients as well as on aiding the family member of patients in dealing with the load of their beloved ones’ disease.
Does Palliative Care Mean Geriatric Care?
People often associate palliative care with geriatrics which is known as the medicine specialty oriented towards the health care of elderly patients. The seniors really frequently require palliative care because they suffer from many serious diseases typical for the elderly people. These diseases posing a threat to the seniors’ life may include heart disease, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
But palliative care is a much broader term than just geriatric care. That’s because palliative care is targeted on all people without an exception. And the age of patients doesn’t matter at all since at any age an individual may start suffering from a life-threatening illness.
However, it’s still possible to distinguish geriatric palliative care which is an integral part of general palliative care. Geriatric palliative care considers the peculiarities of terminal disease progression and treatment as well as the special medical needs of elderly people.
When Should End of Life Care Begin?
End of life care has to be started when you deem it necessary and its duration can substantially vary ranging from several days to several months and even years.
There are multiple circumstances where the patients take advantage from using end of life care. While some patients pass away during a few hours or days, other people may rely on end of life care for months, leading relatively active lifestyle and even taking the top-notch OTC HGH supplements.
In general, it’s thought that a person is reaching the end of life if his or her estimated life expectancy is no longer than 12 months. But of course no one can for sure forecast how long a patient is going to live. This refers to both the patients who will inevitably die and the patients who:
- Suffer from advanced incurable and life-threatening disease like motor neurone disease, dementia, and cancer, which is still not an impediment to the use of top-notch natural testosterone boosters
- Are very feeble and suffer from comorbidities which typically lead to death within 12 months
- Are diagnosed with diseases fraught with a high probability of a sudden exacerbation followed by death
- Suffer from a life-endangering acute disease which emerge due to a stroke, heart attack or accident
There are the special guidelines developed by the medical experts for the caregivers who provide the end of life care to the dying adult patients. Such guidelines give an insight on how to deal with the most frequently occurring symptoms in dying people in a respectful and decent manner.
It’s difficult to determine an exact moment of the course of a disease which begins requiring the end of life care. Everything is very individual. The development of a particular disease has the major impact on the emergence of need for the end of life care.
For example, if your family member suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the healthcare practitioner will discuss the disease stages with you. This information will help you get necessary knowledge on how Alzheimer’s disease develops and enable you to plan the required care. Thus, the Alzheimer’s disease can be also complicated with overweight or obesity. And you will have to guide the intake of diet pills by the patient as well.
The signs indicating the necessity for end of life care for your beloved ones may include:
- Frequent visits to emergency department due to the quick development of a life-threatening medical condition and drastic deterioration of the life quality.
- Several referrals to hospital within one year with one medical condition which sustainably aggravates.
- The patient wants to stay at home instead of being in the hospital during his or her final months or days of life.
- The patient wishes to cease undergoing the treatment for his or her terminal disease.
So, the best and surest way to find out whether the end of life care is needed and reasonable is to delicately discuss this issue with your beloved one.
What Late Stage of End of Life Care Demands?
When you beloved one approaches the late stage of end of life care, some special needs may originate:
- Practical care: At the final stage of end of life care, it may happen that the patient can lose the ability to perform even the basic things like eating, walking, sitting, and talking. The daily routines such as dressing, bathing, feeding, and even turning in bed become impossible without the assistance of a caregiver. Physical power and strength on the part of a caregiver are a must. You may perform the end of life care routines by yourself or search for the help on the part of professional nurses, hospice specialists, or personal care assistants.
- Dignity and high level of comfort: The impairment of cognitive abilities and worsening of memory don’t mean that the patient at the late stage of terminal disease has no feelings of fear, sorrow, loneliness, joy, or love. And if you perform the role of a caregiver, you should make sure that you are worried not just about the physical aspect of end of life care but also about mental and emotional comfort and dignity of the patient. Thus, the patient should feel the love on the part of you and the rest of family.
- Respite care: The end of life care, especially is late stage, can be very psychological exhausting for the caregiver and the family. That’s why the experts recommend to resort to the help of respite care specialists from time to time in order to have an emotional break. In this case, a hospice volunteer’s assistance may be a real sheet anchor. A short-term hospice stay is also possible.
- Grief support: This point refers to you as the patient’s beloved one/family member. The approaching death of your beloved one is going to drive you to despair and cause a feeling of deep grief. It means you may need the support of counsellor.
The Goals of End-of-Life Care
The end-of-life care means much more than a simple hospice care as many people think. The end-of-life care may be distinguished as a standalone realm of medical activity which implies not just the treatment itself but also many other important aspects of health care.
The major target of the end-of-life care is to bring the quality of life of people who require this care to a much higher level. And such improvements touch on the multiple spheres of each person’s life. Bearing this in mind, it’s possible to distinguish the range of end-of-life care goals:
- Alleviating pain as much as possible and trying to make pain come to naught with the help of medically intended methods and techniques.
- Addressing the manifestations of existing medical conditions and repairing the state of health to the greatest possible extent.
- Helping to ensure mobility which is a crucial part of physical function of any person.
- Supporting the high level of both physical and mental safety in the end-of-life care patients.
- Creating trustful and profound relationship between the end-of-life care patients and their beloved ones, family members, friends, and community.
- Enhancing emotional and psychological wellness by means of professional counselling, music and art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and other complementary therapies, which are proven to be really effective.
- Providing an opportunity to both the end-of-life care patients and caregivers to realize and demonstrate their emotions and sensations at this most complicated and challenging period of their lives.
- Letting both the end-of-life care patients and caregivers to get an access to the most comprehensive and fullest information concerning the end-of-life care period duration and peculiarities in order they could make the most reasonable choices and decisions.
- Educating the caregivers in order they could successfully resist stress associated with their daily caregiving activity regardless of whether they are or aren’t the family members of the end-of-life care patients.
To guarantee the maximum efficacy, the end-of-life care must begin as promptly as possible. The early implementation of the end-of-life care plan is able to bring the greatest and most satisfactory results. In this case, it can be the most helpful and at the same time the least distressing.