DEAR PROCON.ORG READERS: We’re being outspent by biased organizations that use millions of dollars to misinform you. This week we’re asking our readers to help us. We survive on donations, which keep us independent and ad-free. If every one of our readers gave $3 now, the price of a cup of coffee, our fundraiser would be over. We’re a small nonprofit, but it costs a lot to keep our servers, research staff, and programs going. ProCon.org is your oasis on the Internet for unbiased information on important issues. If ProCon.org is useful to you, please take a minute to keep us online and ad-free. Thank you.
The World Health Organization (WHO) explained in its "WHO Definition of Palliative Care" section on its website (accessed Aug. 11, 2006):
"Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:
provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications."