What is palliative care?
For many people, when they think of palliative care, they think of patients who are terminally ill with cancer. However, palliative care is for anyone who has been diagnosed with a serious life limiting illness and should begin at the time of diagnosis. Such illnesses may include:
Cancer (Recent cancer guidelines recommend that all patients who receive a diagnosis of cancer should receive palliative care early on and together with their other treatments.)
Liver failure, kidney failure, heart failure, chronic obstructive airway diseases, neurological diseases e.g. dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and during the current epidemic severe cases of COVID-19 can be life limiting too.
Receiving palliative care is not just for those patients who have been told by their doctor that there is “nothing more that can be done for them”. In fact, studies have shown that when palliative care is given alongside biomedical care e.g. chemotherapy, radiation therapy that a patient’s suffering is reduced, and their quality of life improves.
Palliative care doctors specially trained in assisting families with the difficult conversations which may involve, for example, breaking bad news or discussing end of life decisions. Further we can assist with creating a living will that will ensure that your wishes are upheld should it happen that you are no longer able to speak for yourself. With the current lockdown, dying in hospital could mean not having your family at your bedside as visitors and visiting times to hospital have been severely restricted. For many people with a diagnosis of a terminal illness, dying at home might be a more comforting option. If you need assistance in discussing this with your family, we are here to help facilitate these sensitive conversations. Further, we provide support to families who may have a loved one with a terminal illness who is admitted to hospital and they are unable to visit due to the restrictions in place during lockdown. Please contact us should you require support in this regard.
With the fear and anxiety that surrounds going to casualty or to the doctor should symptoms worsen e.g. pain, shortness of breath we can assist via teleconsultations to discuss how best to manage your symptoms at home. Research has shown that providing the correct information and educating patients and their families on their symptoms, has a significant impact on decreasing emergency room consultations.
Other symptoms that the palliative team can assist with include anxiety, depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, constipation, nausea and vomiting and poor sleep.
If you would like further information contact email@example.com or phone 0825781658 to set up an appointment, via Zoom or WhatsApp video call. Appointments are charged at medical aid rates. Palliative care is regarded as a PMB.