Saturday, January 12, 2019

Receiving Palliative Care In Tulsa

By Richard Patterson

Palliative services are an integral part of the overall management of patients with chronic conditions. It is given to improve the life of persons that have been diagnosed with diseases without a known cure. The idea of this kind of treatment is to shift the focus from the illness to the whole individual. Patients wishing to receive palliative care in Tulsa need to understand a number of things in this kind of disease treatment.

Although the diseases for which palliation is indicated are usually incurable, there are many ways in which side effects can be managed and prevented. Such side effects may be physical, emotional, social or spiritual. Depending on the nature of the illness, this kind of care may be provided within hospital premises or at home. The choice is also determined by the costs involved and the presence of the patient and their family.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and often requires palliative care especially if metastases have occurred. Although some forms of the condition can be treated, a majority of them cannot and are considered terminal. Persons that have a diagnosis of terminal cancer have a right to dignified living even as they near their end of life. Severe sepsis, liver and renal failure and end stage HIV/AIDS may also require palliation.

Due to the wide nature of services requires, teamwork is important. A multidisciplinary team comprising of various specialists is usually assembled depending on the underlying diagnosis. Each of these specialists has been trained and certified and is skilled in handling patients who fall in this category. Typically, the team is headed by a physician who helps in coordinating the other service providers. Other members may include other doctors, nurses, chaplains, dieticians and social workers among others.

Physical needs relate to the signs and symptoms of the illness. They include, for example, pain, vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath and loss of appetite among others. Everything possible should be done to get rid of these symptoms. When managing pain for instance, pain relievers should be given liberally regardless of whether there are any short term or long term effects such as addiction and physical dependence.

Emotional needs may include depression and anxiety. These tend to vary from one person to another and the way to deal with them is largely individualized. It is important that treatment for these emotional problems be initiated as soon as possible and preferably be continued to the very end. Treatment may include psychological therapies as well as medication.

There is a need to clearly distinguish between palliation and a related condition, hospice care. The former is usually initiated once a diagnosis of a chronic illness is made. It can be started at any point along the continuum of care. Hospice care, on the other hand, comes at the very end. It is started in patients in whom the disease identified has no known cure.

Palliative care is closely related to hospice care but the two are not synonymous. While palliation can be started at any point following the diagnosis of a potentially terminal illness, hospices come in when the curative possibility has been ruled out. Palliation helps patients in making a slow transition to acceptance that the disease in question may indeed be incurable.

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