"Palliative Care is an often misunderstood specialty, focused on providing support and pain management strategies to cancer patients throughout all stages of their illness. This approach, which can be blended into curative cancer therapy, focuses on care for the whole person: mind, body, and spirit."
Palliative Care is the future of medicine "It has social and political dimensions that spring from its grounding in a commitment to relieve total pain, which includes spiritual pain."
" Families with unfinished business had significantly higher depression and grief scores after bereavement compared with those without."
"Palliative care is the stance of being comfortable with the unknown, a stance that leads to the development of confidence, resilience, and empowerment in patients and families receiving the best care... we are all vulnerable, all subject to suffering, old age, and death..."
Highlighting the need for integrated Person and Family-Centred Care...
"The results show that there might be a gap between what doctors think is important or disturbing for patients, and what patients really think. Physical, psychological, social and spiritual support is needed at every stage of the disease"
Source: Patients feel psycho-social impact of chemo more acutely than physical side effects. MedicalXpress
"Yet, amidst the storm, some remarkable health professionals create a circle of calm. They go about their work in an unhurried way, finding time to greet their patients, put them at ease, listening deeply and offering kindness and compassion. They don’t neglect their clinical tasks, indeed they seem to get the work done with quiet efficiency. These inspiring workers go home with satisfaction and joy in their hearts. How is that possible?"
Source: Hearts in Healthcare Practising compassion in an uncompassionate health system
It's National Hospice Palliative Care Week and it is so important to demystify and destigmatize the incredible breadth and scope of Hospice Palliative Care.
Hospice Palliative Care is about Living Well. Right to the End.
Hospice Palliative Care is aimed at relieving suffering and improving the quality of life for persons who are living with, or dying from, advanced illness or are bereaved.
The goal of Palliative Care is to provide comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness, as well as the best quality of life for both this person and his or her family*.
Palliative Care services are helpful not only when a person is approaching death but also during the earlier stages of an illness. Palliative care may be combined with other treatments aimed at reducing or curing the illness.
*”family" is whoever the person says his or her family is.
For more information and resources regarding Hospice Palliative Care, please visit the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.
"We’ve seen too many patients regret decisions that they made without fully understanding their options, or the possible outcome. We encourage our patients, and our colleagues, to be partners in what are often life-changing decisions about health care."
Read the full article The New York Times
"When heading into the unknown unprepared, we humans are rarely at our most confident. And when it comes to death, we have plenty of reason to feel anxious. It’s times like these that we need to hear from those who’ve gone before us. And that’s what our latest WYD In Focus provides: candid accounts from family members and caregivers who’ve been present at the deaths of loved ones—because understanding what happens at the bedside might surprise you."
Source: When You Die
There are a multitude of misconceptions surrounding Palliative Care - what it is and what it isn't. Sadly, many are not open to the prospect of Palliative Care because it presented as a departure from "active care" or moreover they believe that Palliative Care is only provided at end of life. It is in fact so much more than that... I truly appreciate this article demystifying the scope and breadth of Palliative Care written by Dr. Jeff Myers, a Palliative Physician, empathic clinician, extraordinary advocate and educator...
"At a time when assisted dying dominates discussion about end-of-life care, I think it’s important to address public fears around palliative care so that people can use the information to improve their quality of life.
Palliative care is not what happens when all treatments have failed. It does not mean “giving up” or “stopping the fight.” If you are fighting cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease, palliative care means a team of people — such as doctors, nurses, social workers and others — will help make sure you have what you need to continue fighting.
As a palliative care physician, I am deeply committed to improving end-of-life experiences for people and their families. My focus is not on the disease itself but on the impact it can have, like relieving the severity of symptoms with the overall goal of improving quality of life.
It’s my job to know what matters to you and to make sure you’re not spending time and energy on bothersome symptoms that needlessly wear you down. Pain is a good example: terrible pain from cancer can be exhausting, consume a ton of energy and is worse for the body than any medications aiming to manage the pain. There is no need for a person fighting cancer to also try fighting pain.
There is now very clear evidence that people who receive specialized palliative care actually live longer than those who do not. This is why it’s so important to understand that palliative care is not about giving up — far from it. It’s about living the very best you can for as long as you do."
“As we acquire new and more technical skills, we begin to devalue what we had before we started: understanding, empathy, imagination. We see patients dressed in hospital gowns and non-skid socks — not jeans and baseball caps — and train our eyes to see asymmetries, rashes and blood vessels, while un-training them to see insecurities, joys and frustrations. As big data, consensus statements and treatment algorithms pervade medicine, small gestures of kindness and spontaneity — the caregiving equivalents of holding open doors and pulling out chairs — fall by the wayside.
But all care is ultimately delivered at the level of an individual. And while we might learn more about a particular patient’s preferences or tolerance for risk while explaining the pros and cons of a specific procedure or test, a more robust, more holistic understanding requires a deeper appreciation of ‘Who is this person I’m speaking with?’
In Britain, a small but growing body of research has found that allowing patients to tell their life stories has benefits for both patients and caregivers. Research — focused mostly on older patients and other residents of long-term care facilities — suggests that providing a biographical account of one’s past can help patients gain insight into their current needs and priorities, and allow doctors to develop closer relationships with patients by more clearly seeing ‘the person behind the patient’.”