Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “…an approach which improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing life-threatening illness, through the prevention, assessment and treatment of pain and other physical, psycho-social and spiritual problems”.
Palliative care is generally underpinned by the following principles:
- A focus on quality of life, including good symptom control
- A whole person approach, taking into account the person’s past and current situation
- Care that focuses on both the person with the illness and those that matter to the person
- A respect for patient autonomy and choice
- An emphasis on open and sensitive communication