Palliative Care Different Methods Of Treatment Research Paper

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Palliative Care for Terminal and Non-Terminal Patients Although palliative care is sometimes viewed as a synonym for care for patients with terminal illnesses, a wide variety of different types of patients can benefit from palliative care. "Palliative care is an interdisciplinary medical specialty that focuses on preventing and relieving suffering and on supporting the best possible quality of life for patients and their families facing serious illness" (Meier, McCormick, & Arnold 2015). Palliative care can operate in conjunction with curative methods for non-terminal patients, such as patients experiencing chronic pain, or can be used with patients suffering from terminal illness to make end-of-life care for themselves and their families less painful physically and psychologically. WHO defines palliative care as: "An approach that improves the quality of life ... through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual" (Meier, McCormick, & Arnold 2015).

Palliative care focuses on relief of symptoms versus curing disease. For example, a patient with lung cancer might be prescribed chemotherapy, a treatment which can be extremely stressful in its own right, to cure the disease. Palliative care or pain treatment may be prescribed in conjunction with this treatment to relieve symptoms or, if the patient does not elect to receive treatment, in lieu of this. Regardless of the patient's prognosis, evidence indicates that palliative care can still be beneficial. In a randomized control study of patients with metastatic non -- small cell lung cancer, the group that received palliative care "integrated with standard oncologic care had a better quality of life (QOL), less depressive symptoms, and longer median survival than did those who were assigned to oncologic care alone" (Meier, McCormick, & Arnold 2015).

For terminally ill patients, palliative therapy may include in addition to symptom management counseling about end-of-life issues....

...

For non-terminally ill patients, counseling is still relevant but may include information about pain management and how to live with chronic medical conditions. An important component of the treatment of both groups of patients is managing depression which has "a prevalence rate of 15 to 60% in patients with a terminal illness" (Meier, McCormick, & Arnold 2015). Although it might seem that depression is inevitable for the terminally ill, "patients with advanced and chronic disease are as likely to benefit from antidepressant therapy and supporting psychotherapy and counseling as other populations" (Meier, McCormick, & Arnold 2015). Making psychological sense of terminal illness or how to live in a manageable way with a chronic illness is essential for both groups of patients.
Although there are certain similarities in the treatment of both the terminally ill and the non-terminally ill, it is also important to remember certain differences. In patients still undergoing active treatment for their illnesses, coordination of care is imperative. "Seriously ill patients and their families face major challenges in navigating and understanding their care plan(s) within a complex and fragmented medical system requiring negotiation between multiple settings, specialists, and diagnostic and treatment interventions" (Meier, McCormick, & Arnold 2015). In some instances, certain palliative treatments may need to be 'dialed down' for patients to fully benefit from intensive therapies; for patients who experience severe side effects from their treatments, a more intensive palliative care plan may be required. Palliative care may also need to be adapted to the needs of non-terminal (and in some cases terminal patients) that are still active in the world, given their occupational and personal needs. Patients and providers must consult with one another to balance the patient's need for pain relief with the need to remain alert and coherent during acts of daily life. Memory and other functions may be inhibited by palliative treatments.

Venues of treatment may also vary…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

The debate in hospice care (2008). Journal of Oncology Practice, 4 (3): 153-157.

Retrieved from: http://jop.ascopubs.org/content/4/3/153.full

Meier, D., McCormick, E., & Arnold, R. (2015). Benefits, services, and models of subspecialty palliative care. UptoDate. Retrieved from: http://www.uptodate.com/contents/benefits-services-and-models-of-subspecialty-palliative-care


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