Palliative care - good quality of life

Palliative care is a patient-oriented approach aimed at maintaining the patient’s quality of life, alleviating and relieving the physical and psychological symptoms of a disease and its treatments, and supporting the patient and their families and close friends. Each cancer patient is entitled to good palliative care and its importance is pronounced when the disease is advanced or recurs.
 
Palliative care is not an alternative to cancer treatments, but should be applied simultaneously with the focus shifting between effective cancer treatment and alleviating the symptoms. Palliative care is continued in the form of support and pain management when treatment to prevent, inhibit or slow the growth of cancer has been discontinued. Potent analgesics and other drugs offer several means of providing relief from distressing symptoms. Radiotherapy can be used to effectively relieve the symptoms in patients with painful or otherwise distressing metastases.
 
End-of-life care is the terminal stage of palliative care and typically takes place during the last days or weeks of a person’s life. The aim of palliative end-of-life care is to make the final days of a person’s life peaceful and as comfortable as possible while providing support to the patient’s family and close friends.
 
The HUCH Department of Oncology houses the HUS Centre for Palliative Care. In addition to patient care, the centre’s tasks include arranging training in palliative care and collaborating with primary health care. The Centre for Palliative Care is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area’s network of end-of-life care providers. In addition to the centre, the network comprises primary health care and Terhokoti end of care units. These units are also responsible for providing end-of-life care at home.