The Centre’s Palliative Care Unit operates since May 2009.
But what is palliative care?
It is a holistic approach towards the patient, aiming to control pain and other symptoms and address the psychosocial and spiritual problems faced by the patient and their family.
Palliative care is offered by specialised doctors.
Studies have shown that early referral to palliative care can improve the patient’s quality of life and possibly extend life expectancy (Temel JS et al; 2010, 2011, 2016).
Reasons for referral:
- Other symptoms (e.g. shortness of breath, constipation, etc.)
- Supporting medication from the interdisciplinary palliative care team.
- Hospitalisation to receive supporting medication (e.g. hydration, transfusion, etc.).
Who makes the referral?
The treating oncologist.
How does the first assessment take place?
First meeting: Acquaintance with the patient and the relative that accompanies him or her. A brief history is taken, the reason for the referral is determined and a clinical examination is carried out.
This is followed by an evaluation of the drugs taken by the patient (in connection with the criterion for the referral – usually pain), which drugs are helping the patient and which are not.
The doctor recommends medication and, if accepted by the patient, it is prescribed and the patient and the accompanying relative are provided with explanations on how to take the medication as well as any possible side effects.
Patients and their relatives are informed about the next appointment, which is usually arranged within 2 – 4 weeks. Contact details are provided in case of queries or side effects.
After the end of the meeting, the patient’s file is updated accordingly. The oncologist and the palliative doctor collaborate and consult with each other.
The objectives of the Unit:
- Acquaintance with patients who may benefit from palliative care.
- Interdisciplinary approach.
- Improved quality of life.
- Control of pain and symptoms.