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What is palliative care?

Palliative care is the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount.

The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable earlier in the course of the illness.

Palliative care - World Health Organisation (WHO)'s definition:

  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
  • neither hastens nor postpones death
  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement.
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