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The Benefits of Palliative Care

Palliative care has much to offer to seriously ill patients and caregivers. It can also be of benefit to the community and the public health system.

  • enhances quality of life as a whole on all levels: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual.
  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms, such as breathlessness, difficulties in eating and sleeping, and so on.  It can therefore help strengthen a patient’s health overall, and as a result help a patient have the strength to cope with his illness.  Research has shown that patients who receive palliative care early on in their illness may deal with their illness better.
  • provides patients with a sense of security, since they feel that someone cares, that someone with specialised knowledge is there to support them, that someone is prepared at any moment to help them deal with their difficulties, worries, and fears.
  • provides patients with support for emotional, psychological, and practical problems and spiritual concerns.
  • strengthens patients so that they can become more involved in decisions concerning their health.
  • helps patients remain independent and maintain their existing roles as far as this is possible.
  • provides families and friends with psychological and emotional support, and teaches them practical techniques to help them care for and support their loved one.
  • helps families have those difficult conversations and share their genuine feelings, so that dealing with the challenges of the illness can be turned into an opportunity to improve and deepen relationships.
  • can be applied very early on, right from the point of diagnosis, and it can be combined with treatments that aim to cure an illness or prolong life.
  • allows patients to be cared for in the environment of their choice, which is usually at home.
  • supports life until the end, without hastening or postponing death.
  • helps terminally-ill patients close the circle of their lives, settle their affairs, and deal with practical matters and difficult relationships.
  • offers support to families in bereavement.
  • is for anyone suffering from a serious illness, irrespective of their beliefs, social status or financial circumstances.
  • fosters a sense of community and gives everyone the opportunity to support and assist others in their suffering and difficulties.
  • reduces hospital admissions, which is of positive benefit to the public health system.