Palliative Care is a specialty which focuses on caring for people with a life limiting illness and their families.
palliative care do not only aims to relieve physical symptoms such as pain, rather ensures a person’s cultural, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual needs are met. The aim of palliative care is to improve the person’s quality of life and that of their family.
Who needs palliative care?
Historically palliative care was provided to patients with a diagnosis of cancer. It is now well recognized that everyone who is diagnosed with a life limiting illness, including cancer, chronic disease and end stage organ failure may benefit from palliative care.
Time for palliative care
Palliative care is not provided only during last stage of disease. It is started as soon as someone is diagnosed with life limiting illness. It can be given at any setting such as home, community, hospital. It differs from hospice, as hospice service is give only during last few days of life.
Who can provide palliative care?
Palliative care is usually provided by palliative care specialists, health care practitioners who have received special training and/or certification in palliative care. They provide holistic care to the patient and family or caregiver focusing on the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual issues cancer patients may face during the cancer experience.
Often, palliative care specialists work as part of a multidisciplinary team that may include doctors, nurses, registered dieticians, pharmacists, chaplains, psychologists, and social workers. The palliative care team works in conjunction with your oncology care team to manage your care and maintain the best possible quality of life for you.
Palliative care specialists also provide caregiver support, facilitate communication among members of the health care team, and help with discussions focusing on goals of care for the patient.
Issues addressed by palliative care team
Physical: Common physical symptoms include pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and insomnia.
Emotional and coping: Palliative care specialists can provide resources to help patients and families deal with the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment. Depression, anxiety, and fear are only a few of the concerns that can be addressed through palliative care.
Caregiver needs: Family members are an important part of cancer care. Like the patients, they also have changing needs. They have to look after patient along with their daily duties and works. Uncertainty about how to help their loved one with medical situations, inadequate social support, and emotions such as worry and fear can also add to caregiver stress.
Practical needs. Palliative care specialists can also assist with financial and legal worries, insurance questions, and employment concerns.
Benefits of palliative care
- Increased quality of life Relief from different symptoms
- Decreased emergency visits
- Decreased financial burden
- Help to family members who look after patients by providing necessary help they need
- Decreased stress to patients and family members
Raising Hope of African Child-Uganda currently Supports Home Base Palliative Care Services with 4 key intervention areas as highlighted below.
1. Hygiene promotion. This is intended to prevent secondary infections to the patient due to poor hygiene. We’re therefore providing;
a). Medicated Bathing Soaps,
b). Laundry Soap,
c). Sanitary Pads for Cervical Cancer patients
d). Buckets and Jerrycans .
e). Hygiene related discussions with the caretakers.
2. Nutrition. Poor health is a function of poor feeding to that effect we provide terminally ill person with nutrients rich foods like soybean porridge, milk, vegetables and fruits this is aimed at improving the immune system of the patients. This program targets largely breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
3. Psycho-social support. As psychology contributes 70% of the deaths of cancer patients this made Psycho-social support an important alternative medicine. Between March 2016 and September 2017 over 80% of the survivors testify that their recovery has been contributed by “food of the brain” not medication. RHAC-UGANDA provides counseling and guidance to both the victim and the entire family.
4. We have established Nurse-led Home based palliative care service for terminally ill patients in partnership with Peace Hospice Adjumani.