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Some Useful Information on Palliative Care Nursing

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 158

Palliative care is the compassionate nursing care which focuses on preventing the suffering of patients, both those with curable and especially those with incurable diseases who may be nearing the end of their life. Rather than addressing only the medical aspects of the disease, it also takes care of the emotional, spiritual, physical and social concerns that the patient may have. It is a holistic form of nursing which requires a deep understanding and caring nature, and the ability to recognize the needs of the patient and keep him or her truly comfortable.

The goal of palliative care nursing is to enhance the quality of life for both seriously ill patients and their families. Many people in fact do not recognize that the families too are under tremendous stress while taking care of the patients and this in turn affects the quality of the care given at home. By providing a support system which encompasses the immediate family of the patients as well, it helps to provide relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illnesses.

While creating an overall positive atmosphere of support and cheer in the face of despair, the palliative care team smoothly integrates the physiological and spiritual aspects of patient care. It goes without saying that nurses who are undertaking palliative care must have some special qualities besides the necessary medical expertise; they must be able to give extremely compassionate care after understanding the special needs of the patient under their care, and their families. The support given by these nurses especially at the time of terminal illness is invaluable and to be cherished.

The treatments are said to have a palliative effect if they simply relieve symptoms such as pain and breathlessness, without actually having a curative effect on the disease itself. For example, chemotherapy to treat cancer can cause side effects such as nausea and depression and palliative medicine heals both the physical and emotional symptoms of the chemotherapy.

Traditionally, all medicine had the purpose of trying to achieve a cure, and the concept of palliative care in medicine is still relatively new. Palliative care began with the hospice movement but is now used in home care as well, even for patients who live alone, isolated or in hospitals or assisted living facilities. A support team which includes several disciplines may include physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists and volunteers. Each patient may have their own levels of pain tolerance and stress levels, and the team must jointly assess each situation and provide individualized care that will keep that particular family comfortable.

It is now well known that the mental and emotional health of a patient is also of primordial importance in combating disease. This is why this nursing care for patients addresses all these aspects of the patient's health- to the extent that in the case of terminally ill patients the workers will even prepare them for the gentle transition from life to death. A team approach is used to help the family cope with the inevitable. Through relieving the suffering of the patient, the palliative care nursing team helps to keep distress at bay.

The Australian Government provides support for people with an incurable illness through the National Palliative Care Program. There are many courses offering nurse training in Australia that train nurses in this richly rewarding healthcare segment and also for fulling the dreams of having nursing in Australia as a career option. Through attending these accredited nursing programs, nurses can get the qualifications required to become part of a palliative care team.

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