Hospice and palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of adults and children living with and dying from life-limiting conditions. The hospice and palliative care approach focusses on meeting the needs of the whole person not just treating their condition. It addresses the physical, psychological, spiritual issues and other problems faced by those affected. There is never nothing that can be done.
People should be able to access hospice and palliative care as soon as they are diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, and not just at the end of life. Ensuring that people are living with conditions in comfort and without distress is as important as ensuring a good death. Hospice and palliative care is provided wherever the person is, whether that is in the home, hospital, community clinic or hospice. It is generally provided by a team, depending on the setting and the resources available. This team may include family members, community carers, doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers.
Pain treatment is a key part of hospice and palliative care as it is one of the most common and distressing symptoms that people with serious illness and at the end of life face. To treat a patients pain, the simplest, cheapest and most efffective method is the use of oral morphine. Unfortunately, it is rarely available in many countries. This is due to fears of addiction, over regulation and lack of training and understanding.
Supporting family members and carers is a key aspect of palliative care. This is to improve their own quality of life and well being and to help ensure the best quality of care for those that they are caring for.
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