Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is long-term medical care provided to patients with life-threatening illnesses. This form of care helps alleviate pain and improve symptoms as a result of the disease. Lifelong care is provided to improve the patient’s quality of life and ease anxiety from the condition.

A specialised team of doctors, specialising in different areas of medical illnesses, provide comprehensive palliative care to patients suffering from chronic, lifelong diseases such as cancer, congestive heart failure, renal disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few.

For example, a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a subtype of dementia, will need a long-term health plan to help manage typical symptoms such as memory impairment, trouble with judgement and difficulty reasoning.

What does palliative care involve?

Primary treatment techniques involve daily care, regular physical activity and reinforcement of memory through therapy to help manage neurological conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, doctors specialising in palliative care manage debilitating symptoms due to cancer. Your geriatrician works closely with the oncologist to ensure you receive the best medical care possible. Apart from cancer, palliative care covers a broad range of medical conditions, some of which include HIV/AIDS, liver disease, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anaemia and stroke.

How does palliative care work?

Doctors carry out palliative care to relieve symptoms of chronic diseases. Common symptoms of severe illnesses include pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, insomnia, anxiety, lethargy, trouble breathing, constipation and depression. The purpose of palliative care is to minimise symptoms, stress and anxiety due to disease. As a result, the patient regains their strength and avoids discomfort from distressing symptoms due to long-term illness.

Palliative care is imperative in aligning treatment options with the patient’s goals. Your medical team will help you understand what you want so that you have complete control over your treatment plan for a better quality of life. Doctors, nurses, social workers and geriatricians work collectively to ensure you have an increased layer of support.


Does palliative care signal the end of life?

Fortunately, patients can live long, fulfilling lifestyles with palliative care.

What does it mean if I receive palliative care?

Palliative care is provided to patients with life-threatening illnesses.

How long does palliative care last?

Depending on the patient's needs, palliative care can last weeks, months or years.