The Importance Of Palliative Care

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The World Health Organisation states that palliative care “improves the quality of life of patients and families through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems physical psychological and spiritual.” (World Health Organisation, 2010). Palliative care is considered when an adult or child has an advanced disease which is not curable. (Kuebler, K.et al, 2007). Palliative care encompasses the patient and the family. Palliative care provides empathic care while recognising and focusing on the goals, concerns and beliefs of the person who is ill and their families. (Health Service Executive, 2014). Palliative care enables people to die in comfort and …show more content…
The American Thoracic Society defined dyspnoea as a “subjective experience of breathing discomfort that consists of qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity” (The American Thoracic Society, 2012) It is important to remember although there are many definitions of dyspnoea, like pain it is subjective and is best described by the person who is experiencing it. Dyspnoea is a common symptom for people in palliative care who have life threatening illnesses. (Kamal, A, H. et al, 2012). Dyspnoea is a distressing symptom on a person who is receiving palliative care and can have a negative impact of their quality of life. (The American Thoracic Society, 2012). This is why it is vital to manage dyspnoea effectively and efficiently by assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating. Careful assessment is important as dyspnoea will involve physiological, psychological and environmental factors. (The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures, 2015). A history and physical examination should be undertaken. Factors such as the frequency, the severity and the duration of the dyspnoea should be looked at. The current illness, current medications and smoking history should also be addressed. A thorough assessment will make it easier to plan the care needs of the person. When planning the care needs it is vital that the underlying cause is targeted, this includes the appropriate disease specific and palliative therapies. (Kuebler, K, K.et al, 2007).It is important that pharmacological and non-pharmacological options are considered when managing dyspnoea.( Bausewein, C et al, 2008). Pharmacological management includes the use of opioids, benzodiazepines and oxygen. ( Ellershaw, J. et al, 2003). A study by Currow showed that regularly prescribed opioids can help predictably and safely reduce the effects of dyspnoea for people with a range of end stage illnesses. ( Currow et al,2009). Non-pharmacological methods

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