Have you ever met a person who has suffered from an incurable disease? Do you know someone whose doctors no longer give them a chance to recover? Are you worried about your dying relative? Do you feel helpless? Are you afraid that dying will be unworthy and full of pain? The above issues are addressed by a field called palliative medicine.
What is "palliative"?
Do you feel that palliative medicine only deals with dying patients? Did you hear the term "palliative care" and were you afraid it would be about death?
Long live myths about palliative medicine!
Palliative care is an approach that seeks to improve the quality of life of patients and families facing life-threatening illnesses by preventing and alleviating suffering through early identification and thorough assessment and treatment and alleviation of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. (World Health Organization definition, 2002). What does this mean in practice? The answer is the so-called bio-psycho-socio-spiritual approach. Man is not just a human body composed of cells and tissues, but a complex human being with thoughts, desires and fears, set in the context of family and collective, a being with experience, knowledge and his own spirituality. It is not enough to deal only with physical suffering, it is necessary to pay attention to the patient as a person. For people with a life-threatening or incurable disease, this comprehensive approach is an inevitable condition for improving the quality of life a patient faces: despite the best pain management settings, we cannot ensure a good quality of life for the patient if he lives in undignified conditions. Perfect nursing care and regular visits to the home agency will not bring a good quality of life if the patient is bothered by unresolved conflicts in the family. The perfect supportive treatment cannot improve the patient's life sufficiently if he is devoured by fears of impending death, which he has no one to share with. Palliative care helps to address a range of needs: physical (pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, patient mobilization, rehabilitation), mental (anxiety, depression, mourning), social (family economic situation, patient socialization,…) and spiritual (hope, philosophical issues) concerning life and death). Palliative care is therefore the domain of a team of experts, an integral part of which is a social worker, often a psychologist, clergyman, physiotherapist, teacher, etc. It is an integral part of the team. engages a range of skills and professions, with some members of the palliative care team being non-medical staff and therefore providing non-medical care. Only this approach allows the palliative team to take care of the patient comprehensively, taking into account all his needs, and with the aim of increasing his quality of life as effectively as possible. Let us realize that, as defined by the World Health Organization, palliative care is not limited to geriatric or cancer patients, and is no longer just care for the dying.