Palliative care is a highly sensitive topic. The subject of terminal illness can make many people feel uncomfortable and anxious. The good news is that education is often very effective in helping overcome those negative feelings, especially when focussed on the aims and positive outcomes of palliative care.
To help you learn more, we've put together this straightforward guide outlining the aims of palliative care. Read on for a detailed explanation.
MACG offers palliative care in all 8 of our homes throughout Victoria. If you or a loved one is considering palliative care, contact us, and our care team can help you through this difficult time.
What are the goals of palliative care?
The central purpose of palliative care is to give individuals with terminal illnesses the best possible quality of life. It is a highly specialised form of medical care that seeks to help patients across multiple dimensions of their lives, from medical issues to matters of the spirit. As well, palliative care helps families and loved ones of patients to cope and connect.
At all times, palliative professionals and services work to meet the multiple needs of patients and their loved ones. To achieve this, many different goals help fulfil this larger overarching mission. Some of the critical aims of palliative care are:
Most terminal illnesses cause significant physical pain. In palliative care, people work with professionals to find and use clinical methods to reduce pain and suffering as much as medically possible.
Pain isn't the only symptom palliative patients will face — there's often a raft of physical symptoms that go along with terminal illnesses. Medical professionals strive to avoid these problems, diminish their severity or help a person adapt to them.
Counselling and therapy
Psychological wellbeing is as crucial as physical treatment for those suffering from a terminal illness. Palliative care helps people deal with grief and find meaning through psychotherapy, art therapy and other evidence-based psychological interventions.
Assistance with living
Assistance with daily activities such as dressing, eating, and washing can make a big difference to the quality of life. Those with terminal conditions can feel supported and live with dignity, improving outcomes and experiences for them and those close to them.
A major aim of palliative care is ensuring a person remains mobile and active. Care teams will do all that they can to help patients maintain physical movement, whether that's gentle exercise or simply sitting up in bed.
Palliative care strives to keep people connected with their family, friends, loved ones and wider society. Studies show that when people feel the richness of belonging, they do better and feel better.
Medical professionals and palliative specialists ensure people have the information they need in an easy-to-understand format. This helps them to make the best decisions about their treatment options and maintain autonomy.
Help for families and loved ones
It's crucial that the family and friends of palliative care residents are given support in what is an exceptionally difficult time. Palliative services help family and friends make sense of what is happening and equip them with the tools and support they need to be there for their loved one with a terminal illness.
The prospect of death is a spiritual challenge of unfathomable scope and depth. Palliative care helps people grapple with the meaning of things and find peace in spiritual and religious practice. Sometimes that can mean pastoral care with a priest, meditation or yoga. Of course, what each person finds spiritually helpful will differ, but palliative care is about finding what is satisfying for the individual.
MACG: dignity and freedom in palliative care
Our palliative care nursing team are experts who are passionately committed to the welfare of the residents within our homes. Our residential homes are places where community and family values are not just words but principles that we treat very seriously. In 8 homes across Victoria, we deliver dedicated care of the highest calibre.
Our palliative care enables residents to:
- Experience the security of being cared for around the clock
- Forge new and vital social connections
- Enjoy a community of like-minded people who understand what they're experiencing