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Palliative Care and Beliefs About Dying

Patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses have a tough time dealing with their psychological health and beliefs about dying. The best way to improve their life quality both physically and mentally is to opt for palliative care. Such an approach goes a long way in relieving the suffering of patients.

The Palliative Care Approach

Palliative care experts identify pain, assess the condition of patients and treat them accordingly. They handle all aspects, including psychological problems, physical problems, and spiritual problems. 

Basically, palliative care services refer to medical care that is specialized in the treatment of serious illnesses. Relieving the patients of stress and disease symptoms is the main focus of this supportive treatment. Improving the life quality of patients and their families is the main goal of this type of care.

Additional support is provided to the patient through a team of specialists, nurses, and doctors who are specially trained in palliative care. The prognosis of the patient is not the basis of palliative care but the patient’s need is. Along with curative treatment, palliative care treatment can be given at any stage of life-threatening diseases at any age.

The quality of care is very important for a patient suffering from a serious illness. The perception that different people have about palliative care or end-of-life care is likely to be different. There’s a lot to this kind of treatment beyond addressing just the psychological and physical issues that patients have. Palliative care experts also need to understand the cultural background, beliefs and practices of the patient’s family to provide them meaningful care. Palliative care is mostly aligned with the belief and practices of the dominant culture in the area.  It has also been noted that high quality of care can help avoid unwanted interventions.

Beliefs That Patients Generally Have about Dying

Different people from diverse cultures have their own concepts of death and dying. For a dying person, there is a concept called “good death” and “acceptable death”. Death that includes less emotion without being dramatic is referred to as an acceptable death. These types of death happen in places that are structured like a hospital. When a person and his family members or friends are prepared for death and have done social adjustment, it is called good death. In this kind of death, the dying person would have said farewell to his friends & family and completed his pending tasks. The family members and friends will begin preparing to accept death and live without the person who is dying. 

When a dying person is in peace with other people before death and has achieved what he or she wanted in his or her life, it is called good death. In cases of good death, the family members also show gratitude to God for the dead person’s well-spent life i.e., if the person has lived long enough and has been successful for the most part of his life. This is not the case if a person has had an early death or a tragic death. A Martyr’s death is also considered a good death in some cultures where one dies for religion or country. 

Whether a person fears death or not, how he approaches death and how he acts in his life vastly depends on his culture. Such variations in different cultures around the concept of dying & death, their practices of bereaving and funerals should be examined thoroughly and studied. Our increased understanding of different death concepts and dying experience can help us to appropriately respond meaningfully to them and their families, which will also enrich our lives in the process. 

All human beings will face death at some point in their life, but how they respond to the experience will greatly depend on their cultural background and beliefs. Understanding the different cultural concepts of death can help provide better care to the dying patient and their families. This is what palliative care deals with and can offer the best support not only to patients suffering from life-threatening diseases but also to their families. 

If you are looking for the best care before a loved one’s death, then there are many good palliative care services in India such as that offered by Rajeev Gandhi Cancer Institute. The experts here can give appropriate care according to a patient’s culture and belief. This kind of customized and personalized palliative care is very important for the patients and their family members.  

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