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World Cancer Day – Palliative Care

World Cancer Day – Palliative Care

Today is World Cancer Day.

Palliative Care

An international day marked 4th of February to raise awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

Today is a day that usually unites people, communities, and entire countries to raise awareness and act. Like most things, the pandemic has impacted the heart-warming unity that we see each year through fundraising and events. Never-the-less we have continued to find ways in which the internet can serve as our platform to spread awareness and fund further research.

Cancer Research UK have been working to beat cancer for more than 100 years. It is their incredible research that has seen the UK cancer survival rate double in the last 40 years. Despite this fantastic rise in the success of beating cancer, we are still faced with the reality that not all cases can be cured.

Focusing on the ‘treatment’ element of World Cancer Day, we would like to talk about palliative care. Palliative care is the care provided for a person with a terminal illness, that cannot be cured. As opposed to a treatment that aims to eradicate the illness, this treatment focuses on making a person as comfortable as possible through managing the pain and distress that can be experienced with terminal illness. Not only does it focus on the physical comfort of the individual, palliative care also looks after psychological, social and spiritual support. This support is not confined to the terminally ill individual, as it is widely understood that supporting those who surround them is equally as important. Friends and family of the individual are often going through their own battle, emotionally, trying to come to terms with the terminality of their loved one’s illness and any suffering they may experience.

Palliative care will usually involve a specific team of professionals, depending on the sort of care and support that is required.

General Care Professionals

  • GP
  • District and Community Nurses
  • Care Workers
  • Social Workers
  • Spiritual Care Professionals

These professionals are experts in providing palliative care. They may be involved in managing more complex circumstances and will have had specific training and experience. Specialists usually work in teams to provide joined-up care. Depending on the illness, you may see one or more specialists if referred.

Specialist Care Professionals

  • Palliative care doctors
  • Nurse specialists
  • Counsellors
  • Specialist health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians

These professionals give day-to-day palliative care to people as part of their role and should be involved as early as possible with a terminal diagnosis. They will assess the needs and wishes of the person, and their family and friends, and may make a referral for specialist care if needed.

A team for just one individual can be comprised of multiple care professionals, which is why collaborative working is essential to palliative care. By working as a team, the person in need can remain at the centre of the care plan. The team of professionals communicate between one another, family and friends, and of course the individual, to ensure the highest quality of care. At Star Home Care we use an electronic care planning system called PASS. This system serves as a hub of communication, keeping all in the palliative care team up to date with information, and in constant communication with one another.

No matter the diagnosis, palliative care looks at ensuring an individual has the best quality of life for the time they have left. Whilst it is extremely important to celebrate the triumph and prevention of cancer, we must also celebrate the lives of those who have not been so fortunate, by ensuring they too get the best quality of care.