Palliative Care is an approach to life when cure is no longer expected or possible. It is a service given within a multidisciplinary team of nurse specialists, (C.N.S), doctors, physiotherapists, social workers, pastoral care and lead by a consultant in Palliative Care.
Some teams work out of Hospice settings and others work from community based health centres around the country. The ethos and delivery of the service is to deliver the highest possible standard of care, allowing people to maintain their dignity and quality of life. It encompasses the mental, spiritual, physical and emotional aspect of the patient and the extended family too. It enables the patient
and family to have a choice of where to spend their last months, weeks or days.
Palliative care is usually considered towards the end stages of life and within a 3 to 6 month life expectancy, and obviously there are exceptions to this.
One of the main aims of palliative care is the excellent control of symptoms such as pain and the side effects or interactions of various medications,chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
It is a very special and privileged time in a persons life, and people react in a variety of ways. Nurse specialists develop a very close relationship with their clients because of the sensitive time at the patients stage of life and the frequency of visits allows the patient and family members to discuss things at different levels thus building a strong and confidential relationship.