A Definition Of Palliative Care

  • Words 461
  • Page 1
Download PDF

A definition of Palliative care services given by World Health Organization in 2002 is “Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual. The Palliative Care Australia defined Palliative care as a” specialized health care of dying people aiming to maximise quality of life and assist families and carers during and after death” (Palliative Care Australia, 1999b). It was evident from literature that articulating the meaning of this “specialised health care” was a challenge and several authors has proposed different definitions. The possible reasons for this difficulty could be the existence of multiple definitions of palliative care services, usage of terminologies such as hospice care, supportive care, and terminal care as synonyms to palliative care. A discussion regarding the selection of definition of palliative care services was identified from the first article published from a study conducted by Webster & Kristjanson, 2002), and is reproduced here as table 1. It was noted that the existing approach to defining palliative care services will make it more difficult to articulate and the various interpretations and practice that results from interpretations demands revision of the existing definitions.

Various definitions of Palliative care used when introducing the topic has a significant contribution in the understanding of the subject. To cite an example, in Australia the Palliative Care Australia in several of their publications use the definition of palliative care as “specialised health care of dying people aiming to maximise quality of life and assist families and carers during and after death” (Palliative Care Australia,1999b). The Palliative Care Australia Website uses two different definitions:” Palliative care is the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment” (WHO, 1990),” care provided for a person with an active, progressive, far advanced disease with little or no prospect of cure and for whom the primary treatment goal is quality of life (Doyle,1998). A literal analysis of the definitions used by Palliative care Australia shows a that the word “dying has been omitted. The possible reasons for avoiding the term dying could be the intention of providing a distinction between early stages and dying stages of a non-curable disease. Alternatively, avoidance of term dying could be considered as a response to the discomfort and avoidance that such topics could cause in certain communities.

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic

It was evident that there was a lack of understanding of palliative care services and different interpretations of palliative care services are held by different individuals and groups within the community. Furthermore, usage of different terminologies surrounding palliative care services results in confusion.


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.