Palliative care – A new perspective
Ever since medical school, I have found the care of the terminally ill a special, honorable and spiritually fulfilling thing to do. However, when I started private practice, I increasingly started to feel that despite my best efforts. my cancer patients did not pass away with the peace and comfort that I felt every human being deserves. I decided to enrol in a diploma in palliative care, which I finished last year.
I don’t like the idea of “there is nothing more the doctors can do” and a patient is “being sent home to die”. It is so morbid, so hopeless, and so untrue. There is always something that we in the medical profession can do to decrease suffering and provide home and comfort. I prefer to think that eventually there comes a time in the lives of all, except those who die by sudden accidental deaths, when there needs to be a redirection of focus regarding healthcare. Sometimes in a disease process, the focus is on curing the pathology, and it generally is assumed or hoped that somehow the patient’s inner state will be fine. But during a life-threatening illness, there needs to continually also be an awareness that the person is a holistic being in the context of a community. As the end nears, the focus should increasingly be on healing and comfort of the soul. Bringing joy, peace and fulfillment is the ultimate goal.
Of course, a person cannot experience joy and wholeness if they are distracted by physical suffering. Meticulous symptom control as well as a plan for possible medical problems in the future is a key aspect of palliative care. Psychological, spiritual and social care are then able to be fully implemented, and the person can spend their last months, weeks or days living to their fullest ability, while the natural and expected end draws nearer,
In the Overberg community, there is a great need for a palliative care service. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or someone you love could benefit from this, or if you have further questions. I plan on writing a series of articles on this fascinating area of medicine, and you might just inspire the next one!
This is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your specialist for specific and detailed advice. (E&OE)