Pain and palliative care: adding life to the days

Usually, medical professionals tend to focus primarily on physical issues – the organs and their diseases. Palliative care recognizes that people are more than organs put together; their minds, spirits and emotions are all part of who they are. It also recognizes the families and communities to which they belong.

Thus, the problems faced by a sick person and their family are not only physical in nature; there may be psychological, social and spiritual concerns that are equally important. Sometimes problems in one area can make others worse, for example the pain is often worse when people are anxious or depressed.

It is only when we address all of these areas that we help the whole person. It is this holistic approach that distinguishes palliative care from conventional medical care. The goal of palliative care is not to lengthen – or shorten – life but to improve the quality of life so that the remaining time, whether days, months or years, is as comfortable, peaceful and fruitful as possible.

Like MUKHTAR (name changed), many patients with life-threatening illnesses have so many problems that doctors can feel overwhelmed and helpless to help them. It is important to begin by focusing on what we can do to heal, rather than being discouraged by what we cannot heal.

A professional who understands the concept of “care” would not say “there is nothing more I can do” but rather seek to find things to do for the patient, in order to alleviate the suffering and improve the quality of life. Add life to them

About Antoine L. Cassell

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