These are the methods used to care for the sick in extreme situations. Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement, made more human the face of death and with her life and work applied a balsam on one of the major wounded of the human race.
Palliative care can be summarized as follows:
– The weak people are important. The raison d’être of medical professionals is caring for the sick and weak, not the strong and healthy people.
– While there is life there is dignity. The palliative medicine recognized in all terminal patients all the transcendence of a person.
– The personal relationship is essential in palliative medicine: the sick are everything. They need the total care on the part of the whole professional team.
– Respect for the autonomy of the sick. They must be able to participate in all decisions that affect them.
– The family is an essential part in palliative medicine.
– The truth is essential. The conspiracy of silence must be avoided. Deception causes them a great deal of damage. The sick are not silly. We must know to make them assume the truth with delicacy.
– Always available. A telephone number is important.
– Taking care of doctors, because they see hard cases and these caused stress and anxiety. That is why specialized training is essential.
– Respect for life and death. It does not search for shorten life, but for give relief. It must be accepted the death on its time, respecting the natural process.
– The total care is a profession, a discipline. This is a vocation of ethical content with great good for medicine, families and society.
– Medicine in general can not give meaning to suffering, but it help to be able to make the leap to another life and be able to be reconciled with God.
José Antonio Calvo Baena