The growth of palliative care and medicine has been building steam over the last few decades. It is the kind of care that has as its goal supporting and improving the quality of life of the patient stricken by disease rather than spending time trying to cure that same disease. It can be a way to reduce the severity of the disease or illness through a variety of therapies.
Generally speaking, many different disciplines within the medical field can be brought together and given the goal of the elimination or severe reduction of pain and suffering that is making a patient uncomfortable. Palliative care philosophies are seen extensively in the hospice environment which has as its primary goal helping to make the patient as comfortable as possible while he or she is nearing the end of his or her life.
Instead of trying to cure an incurable disease, for the most part, there are usually two types of care that are associated with relieving pain and suffering rather than curing disease. As above, the primary type of palliative care is that given to those stricken by disease that are nearing their life’s end.
Along with that, there are treatment regimes that are non-hospice based and is used for those who may be stricken with chronic pain from disease. The classic term for such a goal is what doctors and other health experts refer to as supportive care. In such a treatment regimen, the improvement of the patient’s short and long term quality of life is the goal.
Additionally, resources will be expanded towards that aim and not expended towards the aim of finding some sort of cure at least in the short term. As far as whether or not palliative care can make sense in a given situation, it certainly seems to be sensible especially when a patient has an incurable disease.
It can also make sense when a patient is suffering from chronic pain, though his sort of palliative treatment regimen will be extended from an acute care facility rather than the hospice. Today, palliative care specialties are recognized as a specialty among physicians.
However the hospice and palliative care movements came about, there is little doubt that many doctors and health experts today look at concerted efforts to improve quality of life and relieve suffering and pain as a laudable goal. This is especially so when a patient is suffering from pain due to incurable disease and there seems little logic in expending great amounts of resources that could be better spent on the quality of life therapies, especially in the near-term.
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