Benefits of Palliative Care for Mental Health

A by-lined column by Ms Alka Uttamchandani, General Manager, Emirates Home Nursing

Studies suggest that chronic diseases are on a rise. This type of illness is highly triggering and often cause the growth of mental stress, which can have an overwhelming effect on quality of life, well-being and medical treatment. Furthermore, those with diagnosed mental illness are likely to experience death earlier as they tend to suffer from loneliness and solitude which raises the likelihood of mortality by 26 percent according to research.

While healthcare facilities have been at the forefront of providing best care, palliative home care is witnessing exceptional demand to improve the overall wellness of the patient as well as provide support for the caregivers. Palliative care provides symptom relief, comfort and support to people living with serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer or chronic respiratory disease.  Benefits of this extend to caretakers, too. If patients are living with a serious condition, palliative care is recommended to improve mental health and overall well-being.

Palliative care benefits patients and their caregivers in the following ways –

360-degree care – Palliative care is offered through a professional team of medical specialists, which ensures patients receive best treatment plan and medical advice from different medical professionals.

Symptom supervision – Palliative care help patients with symptom and pain management, which can have a positive impact on mental health.

Better quality of life – Individuals who received palliative care have recorded improved mental quality of life than those with traditional treatment.

Less risk of depression – Early palliative care reduces mental depression in people who have newly been diagnosed with complex or severe illnesses.

Support for caregivers – Palliative care includes instructional guidance,  emotional and mental support for family members caring for a loved one with a serious illness.

Social support – Palliative care specialists can help build a support network that makes coping with illness easier for the patient and their caregivers.

As the palliative care team can help better understand the condition, including how it may impact a patient’s life in the future, it can help weigh treatment options. In addition, palliative care helps improve emotional and mental well-being, and enables patients to sleep well, exercise regularly, talk their heart out and most importantly have a zeal to continue living.

Palliative care is ensuring that the patient is comfortable and at ease with what may lie ahead. It is about giving hope to a patient and its family, as well as focusing on the body, mind and spirit, to ensure that the mental health of patient is good, regardless of any potential outcome.

All in all, palliative care inspires patients and caregivers to make better care decisions that positively impact their lives. It can improve healthcare-related outcomes, too. Research has shown that palliative care not only offers less anxiety and depression but can also lead to longer life expectancy and improved patient and caregiver satisfaction.

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