Home | About us | Editorial Board | Search | Ahead of print | Current Issue | Archives | Instructions | Online submissionContact Us   |  Subscribe   |  Advertise   |  Login  Page layout
Wide layoutNarrow layoutFull screen layout
Lung India Official publication of Indian Chest Society  
  Users Online: 263   Home Print this page  Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size

Year : 2007  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 43-44 Table of Contents   

Palliative care


Correspondence Address:
Surinder K Jindal

Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-2113.44208

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Jindal SK. Palliative care. Lung India 2007;24:43-4

How to cite this URL:
Jindal SK. Palliative care. Lung India [serial online] 2007 [cited 2020 Aug 15];24:43-4. Available from: http://www.lungindia.com/text.asp?2007/24/2/43/44208

Palliative care has assumed a major role in end of life care. It is one of the important aspects of care of the terminally sick patients. A respiratory physician is daily confronted with patients of advanced lung malignancies, disabling emphysema and end stage pulmonary fibrosis. How far to go and when to stop is the real dilemma faced in day to day clinical practice.

Palliative care is the active total care of a patient whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Curative treatment may not be either feasible or useful in a terminal patient. Curative treatment frequently involves a more aggressive and radical approach with use of drugs having some degree of side effects and toxicity along with surgical, invasive or semi-invasive methods. The approach is likely to be somewhat risky, costlier and often limited in outcome. Moreover, frequent interventions and close monitoring is required for this approach. The mere requirement of repeated clinic visits or hospitalizations is resentful.

Palliative care, on the other hand "seeks to prevent, relieve or soothe the symptoms of disease or disorder without effecting a cure". The goal of the palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for the patient and his/her family. It involves control of pain and other physical symptoms such as breathlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, anxiety, depression and so on. Relief from the symptoms may require administration of drugs or other procedures which are otherwise contraindicated. For example, the administration of increasing dosages of sedatives and similar drugs for uncontrollable pain, breathlessness or insomnia may cause depression of respiration and other body functions. Yet, these drugs form the core of most palliative drug regimens.

It should be stressed here that palliative treatment is never considered as a substitute or an alternative to curative treatment. It is recommended only when all possible curative treatments are either considered futile or have failed. Palliative treatment is mostly resorted to in patients with advanced cancers or terminal neurological, cardiac or other organ system diseases.

In summary, the concept of palliative care regards death as a normal process but affirms the faith in life. It aims to provide relief from distressing sysptoms. Mistakenly, it is believed that palliative care is unscientific and helps to hasten the process of death. Such a belief is completely unfounded. Death has to happen as a natural end of an incurable disease. This connot be indefinitely postponed. Palliative care is not designed to bring an early death. But it does not postpone death and prolong a miserable life.

Palliative care is a multi-disciplinary approach and includes psychological, social and spiritual aspects of care. It integrates a wide support system for not only the patient, but for the family as a whole. Further, the palliative care for the family, extends to the period of bereavement after the patient's death.[4]

   References Top

1.Jindal S K. Issues in the care of the dying Ind J Med Ethies 2005;2:79-80  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Field MI, Cassel CK, eds. Approaching Death: Improving Care at the End of Life. Washington, DC.- National Academy Press: 1997:31-32.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Eutsey DE, ed. Patient and family issues. In:Palliative care: Patient and Family Counselling Manual. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen publishers, Inc:1996,1;1-10 and 1996,3;1-37.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Twycross R, Lichter I. The ternimal phase. In: Doyle D, Hanks GWC, MacDonald N, eds. Oxford University Press; 1998:977-992.  Back to cited text no. 4    


    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded208    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal