What is palliative care?  |  NPO Radio 1

What is palliative care? | NPO Radio 1

Palliative care isn’t just about terminal care, Ham says, but it’s broader. “It starts when someone becomes terminally ill and it’s about improving quality of life, not just physically, but also psychologically, spiritually and socially.” That’s why care is provided in all these different areas. “People mainly think about relieving pain, but other aspects are just as important.”

Information package

Karen Bentfield’s husband has metastatic kidney cancer, which led them to seek palliative care together. “When you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you expect to receive a package of information about palliative care,” says Bentfield. “Unfortunately, this is often not the case.” “It’s sad and sometimes you don’t know how to talk to family members about your illness.”

“It starts with the doctor”

“It is important for health care providers to know what palliative care is and for it to be an integral part of their training,” says Hamm. “If future patients don’t know the term palliative care, they won’t think of it themselves. It starts with the doctor, who has to tell someone when you’re in the palliative phase.” Ham emphasizes that general palliative care should be provided by healthcare providers in the Netherlands. “In addition, there is specialized palliative care for complex cases.”

Discuss with your loved ones

Hamm calls for people to think carefully about the end of their life and associated care. “Discuss this not only with your doctor, but also with your loved ones.” Bentfield supports this. “It’s hard to pinpoint that, because you think it won’t happen for you. And over time, what you think you want also changes. Sometimes the quality of life can be very small, like sitting together on the couch.”

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“Determining what you want it to look like in fifty years is not a single moment, but a process where you have to constantly evaluate whether this still works for you,” Hamm admits. “Know that palliative care exists and seek it out,” Bentfield advises.

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