Hospice care in the end of life in patients with terminal illness: Time has come to develop the discipline in India – Guest Bloggers Dr. P.L. Arora and Dr. Z. Arora

Even with increased sophistication in care now available in India for a variety of illnesses, it should be expected that there will be instances where further medical care in patients with a terminal illness will be considered futile by current standards of care. This is unfortunately more applicable in cases of trauma, heart attacks or stroke, where there may be a delay in getting the appropriate intensive care necessary for a successful outcome - not only for the survival of the patient, but more so for the quality of life if the patient does survive the acute event. The final stages of cancer of any part of the body are obviously the most recognized condition appropriate for hospice care.

Hospice Care

Hospice is a discipline of medicine that emphasizes steps taken to promote comfort rather than aggressive interventions to keep the patient alive at any cost, even when it is obvious that these measures will only delay the final outcome. Very often, this leads to great discomfort to the patient. Towards the end of life, these patients, whether diagnosed with cancer or another terminal illness, often suffer from a multitude of symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, depression, nausea and vomiting, to name a few. Hospice addresses all of these symptoms through both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic means (music therapy, spiritual and religious means, relaxation exercises etc.)

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