The results of new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that palliative care extends life.
Palliative care is a branch of medicine focusing on providing quality of life as a person faces end-of-life. This most recent study on the benefits of palliative care was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Of 151 patients newly diagnosed with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, the leading cause of death worldwide, those assigned to earlier palliative care not only had a better quality of life than did patients who received standard oncologic care but they lived an average of three months longer.
So, exactly what is palliative care? Standard oncologic care focuses on current medical treatment of the disease, usually chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Palliative care focuses on the management of symptoms: physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional, produced by the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness.
Optimum pain management as well as relief from nausea and vomiting, how to deal with fatigue and limited mobility, sleeplessness or any other physical manifestation as the result of standard oncologic treatment.
Approved practices and measures to alleviate worry, anxiety and depression: 'How am I going to pay for my health care, who will take care of my wife/husband, who will take care of my children, who will pay the mortgage and bills'? 'I just can't deal with this I might as well give up.'
(Therapies that work in conjunction with the 5 senses) - aromatherapy, landscape therapy, music therapy, massage, therapeutic touch, Reiki, reflexology and acupuncture.
(Mind-body healing using positive thinking) - guided imagery, hypnotherapy, prayer, meditation, relaxation and deep breathing, biofeedback.
Psychotherapy and counseling, journal writing, art: drawing, painting, sculpting especially in a group environment.
Spiritual and Emotional
'Why me...why has God allowed this to happen....why has God abandoned me?'
Palliative care is usually provided by a team of specialists to help provide quality of life for the person facing end-of-life or serious illness and also to provide support and education for families. Palliative care may include traditional approaches: narcotics for pain relief of the patient; financial counseling for patients and their families; education so that patients and families can make informed choices for optimum of care; spiritual and emotional counseling from priests, rabbis and ministers. Palliative care may also include complementary medicine - any form of treatment given in conjunction with standard care for serious illness.
Dance and walking exercise, yoga, t'ai chi, oi gong.
Palliative care is patient and family centered focusing on quality of life to anticipate, prevent, and treat suffering. Palliative care addresses not just physical but intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs allowing patients and their families' autonomy and access to education so that they can make the best choices for the optimum of care at end-of-life. Palliative Care expands traditional disease-model medical treatments to enhance the dignity and quality of life. In Chinese, the symbol for palliative care stands for nurturing living, with the emphasis being on adding life to days rather than days to life. The measure of a life is not its length, but rather, its fullness.[[In-content Ad]]