Palliative Care
To Die with Dignity

external image 2185_sunrise_over_jungle_from_3500m.jpg

Figure 1. Sunrise over Paucartambo Peru, (2006) Source:
For Group 1 Members:

Project Manager: Leanne
Editor: Melvin
Mulitmedia Lead: Rose and Raquel
Design Lead: Catherine

I. Introduction
II. Discuss the meaning of Palliative care
III. Discuss the benefits of Palliative care
Subtopic: Palliative care provides pain control and comfort.
Subtopic: Provides emotional and spiritual comfort and helps families through the grieving process.
IV. Conclusion

Intro: Melvin
1st paragraph: Catherine - What is Palliative Care?
2nd paragraph: Raquel - Benefits of Care: Pain Mgmt
3rd paragraph: Rose - Benefits of care: Emotional and Spiritual Comfort
Conclusion: Leanne

Palliative Care
When it comes to caring for terminally ill patients who are given a very short life span, palliative care plays a very important role in providing pain relief, comfort and an improved quality of life. As Zerwekh (2006) explained, comfort is achieved by reducing patient's pain and suffering without necessarily curing the disease. Emotional and spiritual comfort can also be provided to promote better quality of life for both the patient and family. The patient has the autonomy to choose his/her end of life care and the opportunity to voice concerns about fear of death or the unknown. Similarly, the family can pay respects and be supportive at the bedside, which can help them go through the grieving process. To fully appreciate the benefits of palliative care, one must understand its major role in promoting quality of life during the end of life stages. (Melvin)

Potter and Perry (2006) define palliative care as "services for people living with progressive, life threatening, illnesses or conditions" (p.26). As Brody (2009) explained, regardless of the patient's age, diagnosis or stage of illness; palliative care can be provided in a facility or in a patient's home. Palliative services can include but is not limited to: pain and symptom management, support services and palliative sedation. A team consisting of doctors, nurses, case manager, social worker, bereavement coordinator and chaplain collaborate in meeting the needs of both patient and family (Brody, 2009). Through informed consent, the patient and family can decide for or against any medical intervention that may be suggested. (Catherine)

Pain management is one the most important goals and interventions of palliative care. Chronic pain can take away a person's dignity, autonomy, and self-respect. The goal of pain management is to relieve pain and other associated symptoms and to facilitate patients' ability to participate in their chosen activities (Haughney, 2004). Multimodality is used to alleviate pain and promote comfort including narcotics, interventional modalities, and pastoral care (Pinkowish, 2000). The emphasis is on helping to relieve suffering and anxiety; and provide comfort for a patient who has no other hope to recover from terminal illness. (Raquel)

In order for palliative patients to receive high quality end-of-life care, the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient must be met. The ability of caregivers to provide dying patients with emotional and spiritual comfort comes from an innate capacity to care, and cannot be taught. The main goal of providing emotional and spiritual comfort is not only to alleviate the patient's anxiety and anguish, but also to ease the family's reality of loss. By incorporating the family into the care plan, the grieving process for both family members and the patient can begin. Living with a fatal illness can project fear and unrelieved suffering, but knowing that they can count on individuals who put their needs first, enables patients to live in a holistic environment until the approach of death draws near (Lynn, 2007). (Rose)

When there is no further medical intervention needed, palliative care provides the patient a unique opportunity to choose the course of treatment they wish to receive. It supports the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and their families, ensuring a better quality of life. It also provides a support system for patients and their families. As well, the families are given the opportunity to relieve any emotional or physical strain that may have incurred during the course of the illness. In the end, the patient is given the right to die with respect and dignity and families are supported through the grieving process. (Leanne)

Palliative Care Information Websites:

Fields, R., & Ostaseski, F. (March 2, 2009). Caring for Dying Video. [Video file].
Retrieved from

Gifford productions, (February 21, 2008). Palliative Care: What is it who is it for? [Video file].
Video posted to

Brody, J. E. (2009). Guide to the Great Beyond. New York, N.Y. Random house

Haughney, A. (2004). Nausea & vomiting in end-stage cancer. American Journal of Nursing. 104(11), 40-48.

Lynn, L. (2007). Symptom control in the dying. The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals.
Retrieved from

Pinkowish, M. D. (2000). Management of pain and other discomfort. Canadian Periodicals. 34(21), 38.

Potter, P. A. & Perry, A. G. (2006). Canadian Fundamentals of Nursing (3rd ed.) . Toronto, Ontario: Mosby.

Sunrise of the Jungle - Paucartambo, Peru online image (July 16, 2006), Retrieved July 26, 2009 from people.uleth.

Zerwekh, J. V. (2006). Nursing care at the end of life. Palliative care for patients and families. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.