There is often a misunderstanding that when people are referred to palliative care, they are about to die. However, Palliative care does not always mean terminal care.

Palliative care is all about providing relief from pain and other symptoms so that people can live their lives as fully as possible until they die from their illness or injury.   It is not just about doctors and medical treatment; it involves the patient’s family, friends and community in doing everything they can to help improve their quality of life. Here is what you need to know about palliative care:

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialised medical treatment that aims to provide patients relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness, no matter the age, diagnosis or stage of disease. Palliative care does not replace curative treatment but rather complements it, working in tandem with a medical team to provide patients (and their families) with a better quality of life.

Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained people who work with the patient, the family and their doctor to provide additional support to ongoing care. It is based on the needs of the patient and not the prognosis.

What Are The Benefits Of Palliative Care?

With palliative care, particular attention is paid to improving the way a patient feels physically, emotionally and spiritually. Through ongoing assessment and carefully designed treatment plans, palliative care can help improve the quality of life for patients with illnesses such as:

Improves Quality Of Life

Patients who receive palliative care can expect to enjoy an improved quality of life rather than suffer the debilitating symptoms of their illness. Palliative care provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms, such as depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea and more, without worsening a patient’s condition or shortening their life. 

Focuses On Desires & Goals

This approach to end of life medical care takes the time to understand a patient’s diagnosis, their goals and desires and work to match their treatment for the best results. This gives patients more control over their life and care, during a tumultuous time. 

Focuses on Mind, Body & Spirit

Having a terminal illness can bring up a number of spiritual questions. Patients may struggle to understand why they got ill or what their greater purpose is while they are on the journey towards death. 

Palliative care recognised that mind, body and spirit are interconnected and cannot be separated. As such, it listens to a patients fears, hopes and dream to help create a thoughtful care plan that considers every aspect of the patient.

Supports Both Patient & Family

It is not only the patient that can be affected by the dying process. Families are also profoundly affected by the challenges of terminal illness. Providing care and support when a loved one is near the end of life is tiring – physically and emotionally. Palliative care offers families the help they need to care for the patient and support loving family members.

Helping You With The Resources You Need

Dying To Understand is a community working to create a conversation around death, dying and everything in between. Offering a range of stories, resources and a friendly community patients, carers and loved ones can find the information they need to make this final journey as smooth and comfortable as possible.