Page 8 - The Final Journey

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Palliative Care
Palliative care, or pain and symptommanagement, is one of the
most discussed topics in health care today.
Palliative comes from the word “palliare,” which in Latin means “to
cover or cloak,” or in other words, to embrace. Part of the Church´s
teaching is that human suffering and pain should be embraced and
not ignored. Directive 61 of the ERD states two very important
things: first, patients “should be kept as free of pain as possible so that
they may die comfortably and with dignity, and in the place where
they wish to die,” and secondly, “medicines capable of relieving or
suppressing pain may be given to a dying person, even if this therapy
may indirectly shorten the person’s life so long as the intent is not to
hasten death.”
Hospice care is palliative care that is provided at the end of life
when curative treatments are not available
- it is specialized
medical care for people with serious illnesses. The goal of hospice
care is to improve a patient’s quality of life and relieve symptoms
as the patient nears the end of his/her natural life. The purpose of
this type of care is to match the patient’s goals of care to the type of
treatment that they receive. Patients receive the kind of care that
they want, or that is possible in the setting that suits them best, from
a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work to provide
an extra layer of support.
Families that choose hospice care,
in which typically only
proportionate care is provided, should understand that Directives 60
and 61 make clear that allowing natural death to occur is not the same
as killing. Hospice and palliative care do not advocate or support
active euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.