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Palliative care

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Palliative care (from Latin palliare, to cloak) is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The term "palliative care" may be used generally to refer to any care that alleviates symptoms, whether or not there is hope of a cure by other means.

The goal

The is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness.

Non-hospice palliative care is offered in conjunction with curative and all other appropriate forms of medical treatment.

Approach

Palliative care is "an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness.

Palliative treatments may also be used to alleviate the adverse effect (medicine)|side effects) of curative treatments, such as relieving the nausea associated with chemotherapy.

Most hospice care is delivered at home.

Practice

Palliative care may also be provided in the dying person's home.

Who are elgible

In most countries hospice and palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team consisting of physicians, registered nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, hospice chaplains, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, complementary therapists, volunteers, and, most important, the family. The team's focus is to optimize the patient's comfort.

Dealing with distress

The key to effective palliative care is to provide a safe way for the individual to address their physical and psychological distress, that is to say their total suffering.

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