What is Palliative Care? Towards Better Understanding of a Core Health Care Discipline
Abdul Rahman Jazieh*
Department of Oncology, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences ,Mail Code #1777, Po Box 22490, Riyadh 11426, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- *Corresponding Author:
- Abdul Rahman Jazieh
Department of Oncology (Mail Code 1777)
P.O. Box 22490, Riyadh 11426
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966-1-252-0088 Ext 14688
Fax: +966-1-252-0088 Ext 14691
Received date: December 09, 2011; Accepted date: December 10, 2011; Published date: December 12, 2011
Citation: Jazieh AR (2011) What is Palliative Care? Towards Better Understanding of a Core Health Care Discipline. J Palliative Care Med 1:e102. doi: 10.4172/2165-7386.1000e102
Copyright: © 2011 Jazieh AR. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Palliative care is probably the most misunderstood and underrepresented discipline in health care compared to its potential impact and overwhelming needs. A better understanding of this concept would help advance the field to its full potential. So what is palliative care? I will not try to give a concise definition to this important term; however, I will mention some of the myths surrounding it, discuss a few of its characteristics, some of which are unique to the discipline, and then touch upon the future of this field. First myth is considering palliative care as equal to end of life care, limiting it to someone holding a dying patient’s hand, uttering comforting words and pushing morphine. Fact one: end of life care is just one component of palliative care , not the whole of it. Palliative care includes supportive management and symptoms control for patients throughout the disease trajectory including early phases. The second myth is that palliative care is mainly pain management; it is all about pushing analgesic or narcotic up the pain management ladder. Fact two: pain management is an important part of palliative care and it deserves the emphasis received but it does not sum up palliative care. The third myth is that palliative care can be done by one person and does not require many specialists or health care professionals. Fact three: as I will explain later, palliative care is a true multidisciplinary team field and requires all level of expertise and skills. The fourth myth is that palliative is a soft and “mushy” field. This is an impression coming from lack of understanding of this new field. Fact four: evidence- based management guidelines and other evolving data and programs prove that palliative care is a hard-core sciencebased discipline.