Palliative Care

Dr Tony Vikas Bishwas


The medical science is quite advanced now a days and there are many things we can do with surgeries, medicines and other treatment. But sometimes a patient cannot be cured. What do we do when people do not get better? Can anything be done to help them or do we give up and let them die? 

After a patient has been informed that their illness is incurable, there are still productive ways by which we can provide care and aid the suffering. This kind of care is called Palliative Care. Palliative Care is the care that we give to people that we know are dying. 

Palliative care is a way to improve the life of a patient who has an incurable illness. Although palliative care cannot cure that illness, it provides physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support and relief for hurting patients.

 Who requires palliative care? 

Palliative care is commonly provided to people who have these diseases:

•    Cancer 

•    Heart Disease

•    End-stage lung disease 

•    Renal Failure 

•    Liver failure 

•    Progressive neurological illnesses

•    Dementia 

•    End stage Diabetes

•    Stroke


•    Other life limiting illnesses (such as TB)

How does palliative care help?

Palliative care meets the four different kinds of needs that every person has: physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. 

•    Physical – Symptoms or complaints like pain, cough, tiredness, breathlessness, fever, constipation, diarrhea, wound and thrush in mouth.

•    Emotional—Worries, fears, sadness, anger and depression.

•    Social---Needs of the family, issues of food, work, housing, relationships, participation in weddings and festivals.

•    Spiritual—Question about the meaning of life and death, the need to be at peace.

Why do we need palliative care?

When a person finds out they have an incurable disease, they are often sent home without any help or instructions for further care. These people often spend their last days, weeks, months, or even years not properly cared for and in a lot of pain.  Many are miserable and unhappy. 

Palliative care is useful for people with many different diseases. It can help anyone with a life limiting illness – in hospital or at home, young or old, rich or poor.

The writer is HOD, Palliative Medicine and Home based Care CIHSR Dimapur.