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Overview

Palliative Care: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Palliative care is a specialized form of medical care used for people who have serious illness. This kind of care is usually focused to provide relief from stress and symptoms of certain ailments. This care is undergone by patients to improve their and their family’s livelihood. Palliative care is given by trained doctors, specialists and nurses who have specialized in this field. This treatment is available at any stage or life after going through a serious illness or it can also simultaneously be provided with the treatment. During palliative care the team will help you to gain strength so that you can do your daily activities without feeling burdened or depressed.

Doctors, specialists and nurses forming the team of palliative care treat people suffering from the stress of serious ailments like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure and cancer. This treatment treats anxiety, difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, fatigue, shortness of breath and depression caused by serious ailments. These diseases have the capacity to make the patient emotionally depressed which hampers their health more and makes them give up on life. Palliative care ensures that the stress and symptoms of these ailments which cause distress to the patient, is reduced to a certain extent.

How is the treatment done?

Palliative care can be started after the initial treatment of the disease or it can be performed simultaneously with the physical treatment. The team will spend some time listening to you, give you advice, talk to you and make you feel better. The will make you understand all the choices and treatment options available to you. By exploring and digging deep in your personal goals, this care team will help you to match those options and goals. The palliative care team will also make sure of the fact that all your doctors are coordinated and know what you want from the treatment. Palliative care gives you more control and confidence over your treatment.

Diseases like cancer take a toll over your body as well as your mind. It makes you lose hope on life and go into depression. The treatment of cancer like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are very painful, time consuming and have a lot of health effects initially on your body. It makes you extremely weak and breaks your confidence completely. Palliative care gives you the strength and improves your ability to undergo the medical treatment associated with such diseases. This treatment is also recommended for patients suffering from dementia, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease, leukemia, myeloma, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia and stroke.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Patients suffering from serious ailments or have undergone life saving operations recently are the perfect candidates for palliative care. It is best for cancer patients to get palliative care along with their cancer treatment to reduce distress and emotional drainage. Family members are also allowed palliative care because a life threatening disease caused to a single member of the family can wreck havoc and put the rest of the family in emotional turmoil. Also family members are overwhelmed and start to panic when such situations arise, therefore, palliative care helps the family members to understand the needs of the patient and guides them how to offer the patient emotional support.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Palliative care is not so effective for patients who are declared terminally ill and just have 6 months or less to survive. In such cases, a treatment called hospice should be performed till their death.

Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects of palliative care and it is 100% safe for the patient.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Palliative care begins with the diagnosis of the disease, continues throughout the treatment and lastly ends after the follow up care. In some cases, this treatment is even performed till the end of a patient’s life. After the patient recovers from the disease, they should keep receiving palliative care for some time to make sure they regain their competence to take care of themselves and make their own decisions in life. When the treatment gets over, the palliative care team guides the patient and talks to him/her about the preventive measures to take so that relapse of the disease doesn’t occur in future.

How long does it take to recover?

The exact recovery period is not same for all patients. It solely depends upon the patient’s motivation and confidence level. Palliative care helps to offer emotional support and ways to combat the disease. In most cases, after the patient recovers from the life threatening disease, palliative care is no longer needed if they are no longer bothered by the distress symptoms anymore.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price range of palliative care in India is approximately Rs.40,000 per day. However, it differs from hospital to hospital.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment depends on person to person. If the patient recovers completely and doesn’t need any support or care in the future, then he/she may no longer require this treatment. However, if the patient encounters another life threatening disease in future, then palliative care can be helpful again.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Since palliative care provides physical, spiritual, practical and emotional care to the patients suffering from serious ailments, there aren’t a lot of alternatives. However hospice can be performed, but only on patients who are terminally sick and are approaching death in 6 months or less.

Safety: Very High Effectiveness: Medium Timeliness: Medium Relative Risk: Very Low Side Effects: Very Low Time For Recovery: Medium Price Range: Rs.40,000 onwards

Popular Health Tips

Palliative Care

MD - Family Medicine, MBBS, Pain & Palliative Care Specialist
General Physician, Anand
Palliative Care

WHO Definition : An approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

I am a Palliative Care Physician, actively involved in relief of suffering of patients with Cancer, Chronic liver disease, Kidney failure, Paralysed patients, Bed ridden patients.

Pain relief is the most important in these patients. Currently, Palliative care is developing in India.

1 person found this helpful

Palliative Care- When should you opt for it?

MBBS, MD - Oncology, DNB - Super Speciality, Immuno Oncology
Oncologist, Delhi
Palliative Care- When should you opt for it?

To start with, it is important to understand what palliative care exactly is?

Palliative care is specialised care provided for a patient with serious illness to relieve them of the stress and symptoms of the same. The main aim of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient as well as the family.

To treat a serious illness and to care for a patient with such an illness requires time and effort. Your family and doctors may not be able to offer you the necessary care when the disease is severe and life-limiting. In such cases, palliative care proves to be quite helpful to the suffering patient.

This treatment needs specialized doctors and a team of attendants who are responsible for the betterment of the patient’s moral and mental strength. This treatment is a layer of extra protection for the patients who are severely weak.

Improves your quality of life
Palliative care aims at providing relief from pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, constipation, nausea and loss of appetite. It will also help in dealing with the suffering and agony that one might feel due to the illness which in turn improves your quality of life. Palliative care is required when the patients are suffering from diseases like cancer, CHF or congestive heart failure, kidney problems, Alzheimer’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and there are many others chronic illness like these which need extra care and protection beside regular medical treatment.

When is it required?
Palliative care is for the patients who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease which might or might not be cured, and thus the patient has to bear the symptoms and the stress of the disease for life time.
Palliative care helps in bringing down the stress levels, in turn, reducing the symptoms of a severe disease within.

What can be expected from Palliative care?
Besides the primary medical treatment, you can opt for palliative care for the overall improvement of the patient’s life. There are medical, emotional and other practical needs of the patients which need to be addressed in the right manner and it would be prudent to let to let a specialist take care of the same. This will not only help the patient feel better but also promote faster recovery.

Palliative care specialists work closely with patient, their doctor and the family of the patient to provide extra support. At any given point, if you feel that any of your loved ones needs palliative care, you can discuss it with the doctor and go for it. In such difficult situation, it is best to seek help and make the life easier for both the patient and the family.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4118 people found this helpful

When Should You Opt For Palliative Care?

MBBS, M.S., MCh - Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Bangalore
When Should You Opt For Palliative Care?

To start with, it is important to understand what palliative care exactly is?

Palliative care is specialised care provided for a patient with serious illness to relieve them of the stress and symptoms of the same. The main aim of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient as well as the family.

To treat a serious illness and to care for a patient with such an illness requires time and effort. Your family and doctors may not be able to offer you the necessary care when the disease is severe and life-limiting. In such cases, palliative care proves to be quite helpful to the suffering patient.

This treatment needs specialized doctors and a team of attendants who are responsible for the betterment of the patient’s moral and mental strength. This treatment is a layer of extra protection for the patients who are severely weak.

Improves your quality of life
Palliative care aims at providing relief from pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, constipation, nausea and loss of appetite. It will also help in dealing with the suffering and agony that one might feel due to the illness which in turn improves your quality of life. Palliative care is required when the patients are suffering from diseases like cancer, CHF or congestive heart failure, kidney problems, Alzheimer’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and there are many others chronic illness like these which need extra care and protection beside regular medical treatment.

When is it required?
Palliative care is for the patients who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease which might or might not be cured, and thus the patient has to bear the symptoms and the stress of the disease for life time.
Palliative care helps in bringing down the stress levels, in turn, reducing the symptoms of a severe disease within.

What can be expected from Palliative care?
Besides the primary medical treatment, you can opt for palliative care for the overall improvement of the patient’s life. There are medical, emotional and other practical needs of the patients which need to be addressed in the right manner and it would be prudent to let to let a specialist take care of the same. This will not only help the patient feel better but also promote faster recovery.

Palliative care specialists work closely with patient, their doctor and the family of the patient to provide extra support. At any given point, if you feel that any of your loved ones needs palliative care, you can discuss it with the doctor and go for it. In such difficult situation, it is best to seek help and make the life easier for both the patient and the family. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3277 people found this helpful

When Should You Opt for Palliative Care?

MBBS, DNB (Surgical Oncology), MS - General Surgery
Oncologist, Delhi
When Should You Opt for Palliative Care?

To start with, it is important to understand what palliative care exactly is? 

Palliative care is specialised care provided for a patient with advanced cancer to relieve them of the stress and symptoms of the same. The main aim of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient as well as the family. 

To treat an advanced cancer and to care for a patient with such an illness requires time and effort. Your family and doctors may not be able to offer you the necessary care when the disease is severe and life-limiting. In such cases, palliative care proves to be quite helpful to the suffering patient. 

This treatment needs specialized doctors and a team of attendants who are responsible for the betterment of the patient’s moral and mental strength. 

Improves your quality of life 
Palliative care aims at providing relief from pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleeping difficulty, constipation, nausea and loss of appetite. It will also help in dealing with the suffering and agony that one might feel due to the illness which in turn improves your quality of life. 

When is it required? 
Palliative care is for the patients who have been diagnosed with advanced cancer which might or might not be cured, and thus the patient has to bear the symptoms and the stress of the disease for life time.it is considered when either the treatment may mot be effective or patient may not be fit for treatment. Palliative care helps in bringing down the stress levels, in turn, reducing the symptoms of a severe disease within. 

What can be expected from Palliative care? 
Besides the primary medical treatment, you can opt for palliative care for the overall improvement of the patient’s life. There are medical, emotional and other practical needs of the patients which need to be addressed in the right manner and it would be prudent to let to let a specialist take care of the same. This will not only help the patient feel better but also alleviate the symptoms. 

Palliative care specialists work closely with patient, their doctor and the family of the patient to provide extra support. At any given point, if you feel that any of your loved ones needs palliative care, you can discuss it with the doctor and go for it. In such difficult situation, it is best to seek help and make the life easier for both the patient and the family.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2712 people found this helpful

Palliative Care for Cancer Patients

MD - Ayurveda
Ayurveda, Bargarh
Palliative Care for Cancer Patients

With terminal illnesses like cancer, the disease is not the only thing that requires treatment. In addition to controlling the severity and spread of the main disease, the effect it has on the other body systems including emotional, social, psychological problems and also physical issues like pain and inflammation. Though the disease has reached an advanced stage and cannot be cured, the patient can be made to be pain-free and at peace to the extent possible.

The goal of palliative care is not to cure - in fact, palliative care is in place for diseases like cancer from the time it is diagnosed and treatment is begun but becomes the major component of treatment once the cancer is identified to be in terminal stages. Therapeutic care aimed at curing the cancer is gradually reduced and palliative care assumes a bigger role. This is also called as symptomatic care, supportive care, or comfort care.

Aspects of palliative care: Once the disease is identified to be in terminal stages, then the following become considerations:

  1. Stay at home or hospital
  2. Withdraw chemotherapy and radiation?
  3. Withdraw feeding tube
  4. Spiritual discussions
  5. Reduce anxiety
  6. Good quality time with the family
  7. Reduce pain and suffering

As is evident, there is a huge component of social/emotional/spiritual management in addition to reducing pain and suffering:

  • Physical: Pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, loss of appetite are some symptoms that need to be managed. In addition to pain killers, small exercises can be included to make them feel better, even if it is just getting a breath of fresh air.
  • Social: Depression (learn the ways to handle depression), anxiety, uncertainty, fear are all looming large and they are not sure how to manage these feelings. Talking to a counselor or some close family member or friend can be a big relief - the burden is off their chest.
  • Legal: There could be issues related to property, insurance, property that also need to be discussed. External help can be sought if required to provide financial counselling and legal advice.
  • Spiritual: Looking into the spiritual needs and understanding the deeper meaning of life, restoring faith are some things that also can help them feel better. "Why did this happen to me?" is a question most people keep asking and while there is no answer, some solace can be provided through talks.

It is to be noted that palliative care is not just for the patient. The caretakers (family and close friends) are equally in need of some support. So, once the patient is identified to be in terminal stages, all effort is made so the final leg of the journey is peaceful and as painless as possible.

3283 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

How much chemotherapy cycles are needed for a soft tissue sarcoma with lung secondary patient? And what is palliative treatment? How many types of treatment are there?

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Better you ask your medical onchologist.Palliative mean only supportive treatment and no permanent cure.

My father is 89 years old and is suffering from stomach cancer. Cancer was detected about 40 days ago after endoscopy and biopsy. The treating doctor (gastroenterologist) says that there is no point in going for treatment and advised us to go for palliative care. At present the pain is minimal. In case the pain increases and other symptoms like fullness in stomach, vomiting, bloating, difficulty in swallowing and other symptoms get aggravated, he may require palliative care. Please help me in locating a palliative care unit / doctor in Bhubaneswar with specialisation in giving palliative care to stomach cancer patients. With regards.

MBBS, MD - Medicine, MD - Oncology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (FRSTM & H)
Oncologist, Delhi
Please get advice from the oncologist. No age is contraindication for curative treatment if possible otherwise palliative treatment can be given by your family physician. This treatment is a symptomatic treatment and cannot continue for long time. Palliative treatment may involve even surgery as well. So oncologist opinion should be sought.
8 people found this helpful

My father in law is 84 years old and suffering from Lungs adenocarcinoma with MPE. He is on Palliative care. Doc has advised for pleurodesis. From the time (Jan'17) he is on palliative, he is leading a quality life (No Breathlessness, No coughing, good Appetite, moderately life). However X Ray shows massive effusion. Shall appreciate ans to my queries. 1. Should we go ahead with pleurodesis? 2. How long does it take and any side complications?

MD - Pulmonary Medicine, MBBS
Pulmonologist, Gurgaon
Pleurodesis is just a procedure to stick two pleural surface with each other so that there is no fresh formation of pleural fluid. If he has massive effusion making him breathless there are two options: 1: put chest tube and do pleurodesis, this will make him relieve his symptoms of breathlessness. It takes two to three for entire process in hospital. 2: go for in dewelling pleural catheter (IPC) Not much complications for pleurodesis.

My mother, 78 years, has been diagnosed with can pancreatitis and malignant ascites. Doctors have only suggested palliative care and symptomatic treatment to improve her quality of life. We want to have suggestions on 1. What should be the best nutritional diet and what supplements need to be given. 2. When do you suggest paracentesis or ascites tapping. Is it helpful? Thank you very much for all your help and advice.

MCh HPB Surgery, Fellow European Board of Surgery, MS - General Surgery, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Guwahati
Give her normal diet according to her choice and tolerance. You can give a multivitamin supplement and also any protein powder like Ensure etc. Tapping is required if ascites is so much that it hampers her breathing especially when lying down
4 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Guidelines for Treatment of Elderly Diseases
Hello. I m Dr Rajiva Gupta. I m a senior consultant in internal medicine at Ashok Vihar and Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Park. My special areas of interest are diabetes and care of the elderly.

Now talking about care for the elderly, the branch of medicine that deals with the care of the elders is called Geriatrics anthology. The elderly patients present peculiar problems. They present not just discreet conditions, but with discreet syndromes. A syndrome is a constellation of symptoms and signs. In common, they are called the geriatric syndromes. The common geriatric syndromes are false, impaired cognition, deficiencies in a hearing, difficulty in vision, delirium. These syndromes are important because we have to investigate several different causes. For example, if the patient falls, it is not necessary that he may be having weakness in his legs. It is highly possible that the patient will be suffering from an acute infection or from some electrolyte imbalance or from CVA or cardiovascular problem. The patient is having disorientation, he is not oriented, he may have necessarily, he may be having, that he is having infection of the brain, he could as well be having electrolyte imbalance or any infection or a cardio-vascular problem. It means that the syndromes present, similar syndromes present with different types of illness in the elderly. The reason is that the physiological reserves of the elderly are just on the borderline and any acute insult that results in these syndromes. The approach to geriatric patients is slightly different from the way we approach people of other age.

So there are two components, one is the Curative component and another is comfort, or the palliative. That depends much on the functional ability of the patient. So if you have got an elderly person, above 80 years, he does regular exercise, enjoys his life, goes out for walks, the treatment of any condition in such a patient would be on the lines the management is done for a younger or a middle aged patient. Whereas, on the other end, if the patient is 70 years or 75 years, and he suffers from a problem, he is immobile, confined to bed, he is not able to take care of his own daily needs. For such patient, the aim would be to have a comfort care. So, the treatment of the elderly has to be individualized and surprisingly, there are not many guidelines which are available for treatment of elderly in different, for different medical conditions. SO the treatment for each individual has to be individualized, considering his individual circumstances. For example, if we take a very common problem like sugar, and we call that, there is a parameter called the Glycosylated hemoglobin, so we say that glycosylated hemoglobin for a normal should be less than 7% or less than 6.5 %. Bit for the elderly, because they may be having other illnesses, they may be having kidney disease or may be living alone in the house, they may not be able to take care, so in such patients, we will not go in for a very strict control, we ll go in for a modest control, where the range may be say, around 8 or 8.5.

As physicians, we need to be aware that the number of elderly people is increasing, we need to be aware about their special needs, we have to give time once they come to our clinic and we have to define their problems and treat them accordingly.

I will be most willing and happy to answer to any questions, which can be approached through the lybrate website or they can seek consultation by telephone or physical consultation.
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