Palliative Care (Module Assignment)

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The following essay aims to examine and explore three key points which have been pivotal in the learning process surrounding this module and the subject of ‘palliative care’, using a range of sources to support any arguments made.

Submitted: June 08, 2019

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Submitted: June 08, 2019

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The following essay aims to examine and explore three key points which have been pivotal in the learning process surrounding this module and the subject of ‘palliative care’, using a range of sources to support any arguments made. First it may be beneficial to define the term ‘palliative care’. According to Macpherson (2002) this term can be defined as “to mitigate the sufferings of the patient, not to effect a cure”.

The first point this essay will explore the need to implement palliative care prior to the status of the patient being deemed terminal and should be “offered earlier in the disease process” (National Cancer Institute, 2017); it should be initiated “at diagnosis and continue through treatment, follow-up care and the end of life”. Himelstein et al (2004) suggest that this could influence the care outcomes for the patient in terms of providing the maximum level of support and “compassion” possible.

Next the focus will be on the difficulties which are encountered by professionals when discussing prognosis and palliative care with their patients. Lo et al (1999) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (2000) report that this can be fraught with problems and yet despite this, Cook and Rocker (2014) suggest “candid communication is a determinant of family satisfaction” with regard to palliative care, adding that it can be beneficial for the patient to understand “the predicted outcome” and can instil “trust in the treating physician”. This can influence care by allowing the patient time to mentally prepare and to come to terms with their situation.

Becker (2009) highlights pain management as a key issue in providing effective palliative care. This is reinforced the National Cancer Institute (2017) who also state that there are many distressing symptoms to manage and treat during the palliative care process, citing examples of “pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea” to name a few. By proactively treating pain it is possible to add a “layer of support” to patients and their families (Kelley and Morrison, 2015). Interestingly, it is known that other therapies aside from direct pain management can also ease these symptoms, with music therapy being one example (Munro and Mount, 1978).

In conclusion, it is fair to say that this course has been beneficial in extending and broadening my knowledge in this area of care. This can only serve to be of benefit to my future practice and the care my patients receive.

 

Word count (excluding reference list) – 398 exactly.

 

 

 

Reference List

American Academy of Pediatrics (2000) Committee on Bioethics and Committee on Hospital Care. Palliative care for children. Pediatrics. 106(2) p.351-357.

Becker, R. (2009) Palliative care 1: principles of palliative care nursing and end-of-life care. Nursing Times. 105(13).

Cook, D. and Rocker, G. (2014) Dying with Dignity in the Intensive Care Unit. New England Journal of Medicine. 370.

Himelstein, B., Hilden, J., Morstad Boldt, A. and Weissman, D. (2004) Pediatric Palliative Care. New England Journal of Medicine. 350.

Kelley, A. and Morrison, S. (2015) Palliative Care for the Seriously Ill. New England Journal of Medicine. 373.

Lo, B., Quill, T., Tulsky, J. and ACP-ASIM End-of-Life Care Consensus Panel (1999) Discussing Palliative Care with Patients. Academia and the Profession.

Macpherson, G. (2002) Black’s Medical Dictionary. London: A&C Black.

Munro, S. and Mount, B. (1978) Music therapy in palliative care. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 119(9).

National Cancer Institute (2017) Palliative Care in Cancer – [online]. Available from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/advanced-cancer/care-choices/palliative-care-fact-sheet [Accessed 11th June 2017].

 


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