What Are the Stages of Palliative Care and What Does Palliative Care Include?
It is no secret that people with chronic illnesses require a considerable amount of support and help from external sources to live a comfortable life. The long-term care required by such people for pain management and symptom relief, amongst other things, is referred to as palliative care.
Palliative care is essentially a holistic support system designed to meet the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of a chronically ill person alongside their medical needs. This type of care might also include extending psychological support to the patient’s family and friends in certain cases.
5 Stages of Palliative Care
Palliative medical care can be broken down into five main stages:
The first stage of this form of medical care involves curating a custom treatment plan for the patient. The caregiver takes note of the unique physical and mental needs of the patient and combines them with their medical needs to formulate a plan that is best suited to address the patient’s symptoms and complaints. Some medical interventions might also be a part of this stage to keep track of how the plan is working for the patient.
The unstable phase refers to the stage where the patient either unexpectedly develops new symptoms or experiences an increase in the severity of the old ones. Psychological support is a big part of this stage as circumstances are stressful and worrisome.
The third stage indicates a further decline in the health of the patient as the symptoms worsen. Around this time, the patient might develop serious health issues and undergo significant distress physically and mentally. The need for frequent physical assessments as well as constant psychological support increases at this level.
The terminal stage hints toward an imminent and approaching end. While the treatment is not completely abandoned, the focus of care now shifts from medical and physical to mental and spiritual.
This stage is all about extending bereavement services and support to the friends and family of the patient.
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