Pain & Palliation - Oncology
Palliative care is an approach to improve the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing such life-threatening disease. Palliation services are designed to prevent and relieve the patient from both physical pain and psychological problems through early identification and assessment. It includes various investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications. Pain and Palliative care for Oncology is designed to:
- Relieve from pain and other distressing symptoms.
- Integrate the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care.
- Enhance the quality of life and to positively influence the course of illness.
- Offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death and to help the family cope during the patient's illness.
- Emphatically ensure that dying is a normal process
- Use a team approach to address the patient’s needs including bereavement counselling if needed.
Pain Palliation is applicable early in the illness with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Palliative care for cancer is an approach to address the person as a whole and not just their disease.
Why Narayana Health for Palliative Care?
Pain is the most common and dreaded symptom in cancer patients. Narayana Health ensures that patients who have pain are identified as soon as possible and treated appropriately and effectively. We also deal with the psychological, spiritual, social and occupational distress in patients - as they may lead to increased perception of physical pain.
Narayana Health's multidisciplinary team of palliative care specialists have received special training and/or certification in palliative care. We provide holistic care to the patient and their families by focusing on their physical, emotional, and social issues faced during the cancer experience. Our palliative care hospital unit includes doctors, nurses, registered dieticians, pharmacists, and psychologists. The palliative care team at Narayana Health works concurrently with the oncology team to manage your care and maintain the best possible quality of life.
Palliative care can provide direct support by providing relief from distressing symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Problems with sleep
What Services Are Offered?
Palliative care is provided along the cancer care continuum, from diagnosis to treatment and recovery. Palliative care specialists also facilitate communication among members of the medical team and help with discussions focusing on the goals of the patient's wellbeing.
A chronic disease like Cancer affects the person not only physically but also emotionally and the effects differ from person to person. Pain Palliative measures are designed to address a broad range of issues and to integrate an individual’s specific needs into care.
Palliative care helps with physical symptoms such as pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and insomnia. The patients are always encouraged to address pain, if any, as pain should be treated right away.
For most pain problems, medicines like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) helps. If pain continues or gets worse, a weak opioid medicine, like hydrocodone is prescribed. In case of severe and unbearable pain, Doctors might prescribe strong opioids like morphine and fentanyl.
With the help of various resources, Palliative care specialists can provide help to deal with the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment. Fear, anxiety, and depression are only to name a few of the concerns that are taken care of through palliative care.
The caregiver or family members are an important part of cancer treatment. Like the patient, they also face challenges. Family members become overwhelmed by the extra responsibilities due to caregiving. Many find it hard to cope up with a sick relative while trying to handle other obligations, such as household chores and duties, professions, and caring for the patient.
Often the person taking care of a patient inundates self with inadequate social support, and uncertainty about how to help their loved one in such illness. Worry and fear add up to their stress. Such stress can deteriorate their own health. Palliative care specialists help families and friends to cope up and provide them with the support they need.
Palliative care specialists also assist the patient with their insurance questions, financial and legal worries, and employment concerns. They discuss advance directives and facilitate communication among family member, caregivers, and members of the oncology care team to set a goal towards the patient's wellbeing.
Children’s Palliative Care
Palliative care for children is a closely related field to adult palliative care. Children’s palliative care focuses on the enhancement of quality of life for the child and support for the whole family. The care includes stress management, symptom management with a provision of respite care.
Symptom management controls the physical aspects of symptoms combined with attention to the psychosocial effects of the symptoms. Respite care helps relieve the family of the burden of care by providing caregiving support in the home or an alternative community environment such as a children’s hospice.
Pain & Palliation - Oncology FAQs
Patients with terminal diseases usually need palliation. Pain and Palliative care is an approach towards easing the severity of pain often in case of incurable disease. If you have a serious illness like cancer, heart disease or kidney failure then coping with the pain can be a daily struggle. This is where a Palliative Care can help patients to improve the quality of life for patients and their family.
Palliative care is specialized medical care which helps manage pain and other symptoms. Doctors might suggest stronger medicines like morphine to deal with the pain. There might be few side effects like sleepiness, constipation or confusion but different people respond differently, but the palliative care team helps to manage them.
Sometimes patients do not want to bother their doctor by talking about their pain. Already the critical illness is tough to deal with, they need to suffer more by bearing this pain. They must speak up! Pain can be harder to deal with along with the medical treatment. It slows down the recovery process and makes the patient depressed. In such cases, the patient must be offered Palliative Care.
Patients and their families often panic when they hear about Pain & Palliative Care and think that the illness has reached a death stage. Palliative is neither hospice care nor it is only for those who are terminally ill. Palliative care is for a patient with a chronic illness who is experiencing pain, suffering and a decreased quality of life because of symptoms related to their disease or treatment.
Palliative treatments vary widely and often include:
Medication: It includes medicines to address symptoms and improve comfort and well-being.
Emotional Support: Patients having cancer may feel different emotions, such as stress, anger, sadness, or anxiety. A counsellor, support group, or a psychologist can help them understand and manage these emotions.
Mental Support: Cancer medications and treatments can affect a patients mind. Feeling agitated or irritated is quite normal. Palliative care for mental health includes counselling, exercise, and possibly medication to help with anxiety, depression, or sleep problems.
Physical: Physical side effects of cancer include pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, breathing problems, or sleep problems. All these symptoms depend on the type of cancer, its stage, the treatment, and overall general health.
Social: This is an extremely sensitive issue to deal with as most cancer patients find it hard to talk to their loved ones or caregivers. In such cases, the Palliative care unit arranges support groups for the patient to have a heartfelt conversation or plan a family meeting for them. They also aid in medical information, rides to and from the treatment, or other kinds of support services.