Palliative care is an important issue in medical ethics. Global health care institutions such as the World Health Organization do not recognize it as a basic right for terminally-ill patients (read HERE). Medical institutions and bioethicists, however, disagree.
Our Observatory strongly supports palliative care administered by trained professionals, from the diagnosis of severe disease and at the end of life (see our most recent article on palliative care in the COVID 19 pandemic HERE).
Specialized palliative care in Parkinson
According to the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, ”Neurological disorders are now the leading source of disability globally, and the fastest-growing neurological disorder in the world is Parkinson disease. From 1990 to 2015, the number of people with Parkinson’s disease doubled to over 6 million.”
Information found on the JAMA Patient Page explains about palliative care in the particular case of patients with Parkinson: “Medical advances have led to significant progress in treating Parkinson disease (PD). However, these advances have limits, and no curative treatments are currently available. Recent research has shown that the integration of palliative care and PD improves the quality of life and reduces the severity and burden of symptoms. Palliative care in PD involves the treatment of nonmotor symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and depression. It also consists of treating difficult emotions, such as caregiver stress, demoralization, and grief. Practical challenges, such as getting more help at home, and advance care planning are also explored. There is no right time for starting palliative care. Some services, such as talking about the future, are best done early because advanced PD can affect communication skills.”
Our aim with this article is to approach palliative care from a truly applied bioethics. In this respect, the aforementioned article continues, “Palliative care is not yet a standard part of care for PD. Use of palliative care does not mean that a patient must give up their treating PD neurologist. A palliative care team and neurologist work together, often along with a pharmacist, nurse, chaplain, and/or social worker. They provide support primarily to the person with PD but also offer support to family members.” We recommend that our readers read the entire article HERE.