Palliative care has grown over the decades into a movement that many doctors and other health experts believe can help in the relief of pain and suffering and the improvement of quality of life in patients who may have disease is not subject to cure. Reduction of severity of symptoms is its main aim, along with smarter expenditures of scarce medical resources.
There are any numbers of medical specialties that can be combined into a palliative care treatment regimen that works well in eliminating or reducing pain and suffering that is affecting a patient suffering from various disease processes. The hospice movement across the world has been at the forefront of the idea of making a patient — especially one who is terminally ill — as pain-free as possible when it comes to end-of-life issues.
In seeking to relieve pain rather than cure disease generally, there are a couple of different care regimens that are used to help a patient deal with the pain that comes from a disease process. Remember, the goal of palliative care is to relieve pain, not to cure the disease itself.
At hospice facilities, the goal is to improve a terminal patient’s quality of life and to eliminate pain while those who are not residing in hospice and are suffering pain from chronic illness are generally treated through the efforts of an acute care hospital. In medicine, the generalized term for all of these treatment regimens is usually known as “supportive care.”
In supportive care, the patient’s quality of life is addressed both from a short-term and a long-term perspective. Medical resources will be steered towards the aim of alleviating pain and improving such quality of life rather than in trying to discover a cure, at least in the near-term.
There are many instances in medicine where palliative care can make a lot of sense. From the perspective of improving a terminally ill patient’s life and eliminating his or her suffering, there can be no doubt that it is extremely attractive as a treatment regimen. For those who are suffering from nonfatal disease, an interdisciplinary team based out of that acute care facility can work together to address the pain issues and improve life for the patient.
No matter the reasons for why and how such care philosophies developed, it is a sure bet that most people would look at the idea of palliative care as a laudable medical goal these days. Terminally ill patients can receive quality care that improves their lives and eliminates pain so that they can concentrate on the long goodbye. Those with chronic pain have also benefited greatly, as have facilities that can better allocate scarce medical resources to where they are needed most.
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