What is palliative care?
Palliative care is long-term medical care provided to older adults living with life-threatening illnesses.
This form of care aims to relieve pain and debilitating symptoms of the ailment and involves the care of social, psychological and spiritual needs. Dr Coetzer initiates palliative care to enhance the patient’s quality of life and helps put the family at ease through her informative insight into treating the condition. Palliative care is combined with curative treatment based on the patient’s needs rather than their prognosis.
Palliative care improves the patient’s life quality even after being diagnosed with life-threatening conditions such as:
- Primarily, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects older adults. COPD commonly occurs in patients who smoke. COPD stands for a collection of lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Emphysema arises due to damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. As a result, the patient develops shortness of breath. Older people struggle with emphysema symptoms, in which case, it may become hard to manage. Prolonged care is required to prevent symptoms from affecting the person’s quality of lifestyle.
- Alzheimer’s disease develops due to atrophy, which causes the brain cells to die. Alzheimer’s disease is a prevalent reason for dementia.
- Parkinson’s disease is classified as a brain disorder that leads to tremors, trouble with balance and muscle stiffness. Mild symptoms may develop at first and soon progress over time. As Parkinson’s disease worsens, the person will have trouble walking and speaking, which is why they need a long-time carer.
- Congestive heart failure is a lifelong, life-threatening condition that worsens without treatment. Dr Coetzer will draw up a treatment plan which includes exercise, prescription medicine and surgical intervention if necessary.
- About half the cancer cases affect older people aged sixty-five and over. In most cases, patients only get treated after they learn about their diagnosis. However, a late diagnosis can affect the outcome and intensity of the treatment.
Ultimately, palliative care ensures life is bearable by managing symptoms such as pain, fatigue, constipation, difficulty breathing, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, nausea, anxiety and depression.
Furthermore, the patient’s treatment choices coincide with the goals concerning their health.
How do you get palliative care?
Palliative care can be obtained by reaching out to Dr Coetzer concerning the patient's future life care plan and how it coincides with curative treatment. Palliative care generally relieves pain and suffering when finding out about a long-term illness. Dr Coetzer will teach her patients how to take care of their oral health, cope with fatigue, breathlessness and pain, and manage eating problems. She will help you appreciate life and improve your quality of life through her specialised management techniques.