Palliative Care

Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?
Where can I get palliative care near me?
How painful is cancer?
What is the cost of palliative care in India?
Which specialization does Palliative Care?
How does Palliative Care help manage pain?

What is palliative care

World Health Organization (W.H.O) defines Palliative Care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psycho-social and spiritual

Where can I get palliative care in India

Palliative care is usually provided at patients home. If the symptoms are uncontrollable, then the patient will get admitted for a short period in the in-patient department. Once it is under control patients are sent home and there will be follow ups from Palliative care unit. The family is also taught how to take care of the patients.

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Cancer Pain and impact

Unrelieved pain can impact an individual lifestyle and cause various disruptions like loss of mobility, loss of concentration, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, depression, prolonged recovery after surgery and increased length of hospital stay.

However,most type of pain can be managed and controlled. Palliative care supports patients lead a healthy life and one of the sub-approaches of it is managing pain.

Types of pain

Pain is measured subjectively even today and differs from person to person. Each person gives a rating from 1 to 10 where 1 is no pain and 10 is worst possible pain.

Pain Scale Image

A cancer patient experiences multiple types of pain. We have listed them below

Pain Description/Cause
Bone Pain Pain because of bone damage/trauma
Nerve Pain Pain because of nerve damage. Sometimes the point at which one experiences pain is reduced in cancer. This results in a pain type. A few types of this pain are:
    Chronic Pain
  • The patient feels pain persistently/continuously even when taking rest.
    Breakthrough cancer pain (BTCP)
  • The patient feels pain after doing an activity/moving/coughing strongly. This is intermittent and happens only when that activity is done. Sometimes, also called as 'Flare Pain'.
    Chemotherapy / Radiation Induced Pain
  • The patient feels pain / numbness / tingling sensation in hands/legs/extremities of the body. This can also be severe. Sometimes, also called as "peripheral neuropathy "
  • A few commonly used chemotherapy drugs such as Paclitaxel or Cisplatin, may cause what is known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy or paresthesia.

Who provides Palliative Care

Palliative care specialists can help provide palliative care. The usually focus on providing care and treatments which improve quality of life for people in any stage of their illness, whether it is life threatening, terminal or curable. Palliative care medicine is a relatively new specialization in modern medicine.

How does Palliative Care help

The goal of palliative care is to improve the overall quality of life of a patient and one pain management and relief from pain is one of the key areas of this approach.

Palliative Care helps patients by
Providing relief from pain
Enhancing quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness
Offering a support system for patients and family to cope with the disease
Working on the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
Uses a team approach to address needs of patient and his/her family, including providing counselling

When should I start Palliative Care

Palliative Care should ideally be started when a person is diagnosed with a chronic disease because it takes care of the physical, psychological, social, financial and spiritual problems of the patient. Palliative care and Curative treatment should be started together ideally.

What is cost of Palliative Care

The cost of palliative care for a patient is usually less varies from case to case basis and from each provider of care. However, some institutions provide Palliative Care treatment free of cost.

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