The most common misconception about palliative care is that it is only provided or is available to a person who is dying or is very close to death. In reality, palliative care is the active, holistic care of a patient with an advanced progressive illness, dealing with not just the physical aspects of the disease, but also psychological and social issues.
The main goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for the patient and the family living with breast cancer. For the patient, this means relieving common symptoms that may be experienced including pain, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, weakness, anxiety and depression.
Palliative care is usually provided by an interdisciplinary team of professionals who work very closely. They may include a nurse, physiotherapist, social worker, occupational therapist, nutritionist, volunteer and physician. They focus on many aspects of continuous care that help alleviate suffering not just at the hospital or clinic, but also at home and for as long as possible.
Palliative care is an integral part of hospice. Hospice is a special type of care meant to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, no longer respond to treatment and a cure no longer the possible objective in treatment.
For more information on hospices in Malaysia, click here.