An illness where there is no prospect of stabilisation and a cure can place an almost unbearable strain on the patient and their family. It is an extremely tough situation that can push everyone involved to their psychological limits. Palliative care helps patients to adapt to the news and to live with as little pain as possible. In addition to medical treatment, psychological care is very important.
Is someone in your immediate family terminally ill? Are they enduring severe pain and anxiety? Palliative care offers holistic treatment to those affected, helping them to live dignified lives with a minimum of pain and as independently as possible.
As well as providing care services and medical treatment, palliative care also covers the patient's psychological needs. Social, psychological and spiritual assistance help to minimise anxiety. They help severely ill people accept and come to terms with their situation.
The focus of palliative care is not on combating the illness. Rather, it is to ensure the highest possible quality of life. Modern pain treatments relieve physical symptoms, while appropriate medication and regular discussions reduce depression and make the patient's situation more bearable.
Experts from a wide variety of disciplines come together to create a network offering medical care, all types of therapy, day-to-day support, psychological help and counselling. They provide your sick family member with professional, empathetic care. They put the desires and needs of the person affected first and respect their wishes. The advanced health care directive also plays an important role here, and can be adapted by the patient on a case-by-case basis depending on the course of the illness.
Specify your wishes in good time with a living will. This will help doctors and family members take decisions in accordance with your wishes should you no longer be able to communicate. Consult with your doctor when writing your living will, and let members of your family know where the document is kept.
As a family member, you too can count on palliative care for support. You are also under great strain, which you might not be able to cope with without help. The palliative care experts work closely with you and your family, assisting you and protecting you from excessive strain.
Palliative care is not tied to a particular location. You can care for your sick family member in your own home, in a retirement or nursing home, or in hospital. Many nursing homes and hospitals have palliative stations with specially trained care and nursing staff.
Give a close relative or friend power of attorney to deal with your health insurance provider.
Speak to the sick person's doctor and, if possible, involve him or her. Find out about the palliative care options in your area. You can also find useful information on the Internet platform www.palliative.ch. Don't withdraw into yourself. Talk about what is happening with other family members and people you are close to. Get in touch with a self-help group. By talking to others, you will come to realise that you are not alone with your worries.