Palliative care is a broad term used to describe the holistic approach to managing, treating and supporting patients with a serious or life threatening illness. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the various symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress associated with their illness, whatever the diagnosis.
The goal of palliative care for cancer treatment is to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Palliative care can already be implemented in the early stages of disease and can be offered along with curative treatment of the disease.
Although it forms an essential part of end-of- life-care, it is not only limited to this terminal phase and can be provided in different settings, e.g. at home, in hospital or at a hospice facility.
About Palliative Care
In oncology, palliative care is an approach to cancer care in which support is provided to patients with end-stage cancer, where recovery or cure is no longer expected, and the goal of any therapy that is undertaken, is no longer aimed at curing the condition, but focused solely on symptom control. Symptom control and management of cancer can be approached in many different ways and depends on each patient’s individual needs. It may include palliative radiotherapy and or chemotherapy – in these cases patients will be thoroughly counselled to make sure they understand that the treatment intent is palliative (improving symptoms) and not curative. Below are some examples of the general support that can be expected:
- Pain management
- Management of symptoms associated with the specific condition, e.g. diarrhea, wound care
- Management of treatment related complications/side effects, e.g. nausea/vomiting, anemia
- Assisting with general arrangements, e.g. home oxygen, assistive devices
- Registration with/referral to Hospice
- Hospital admission for supportive care when indicated
- Terminal psychological support and guidance
At Curo Oncology we have a comprehensive multi-disciplinary team dedicated to palliative care. We do our best to make sure our patients get to the appropriate health professional when needed. All of our doctors are committed to providing the best possible cancer care and support to patients with palliative needs and will go to great lengths to ensure comfort, dignity and ongoing communication to patients nearing the end of life.