What are the things you need to think about before considering the palliative approach and who should you speak to?
- Talk to your doctor.
- Find out what palliative care services are available in your area.
- Find out which hospices are accredited and belong to the Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA) of South Africa so you know that they are following the protocols and guidelines set by the HPCA.
- Understand your illness and the implications of your symptoms or pain worsening.
- Think about and discuss the quality of life you would like to have, including spending time with loved ones, minimising pain and other debilitating symptoms.
- Remember to include your personal, cultural and spiritual needs when considering treatment options.
- Decide on the type of facility (hospital, hospice, nursing home etc) you would like to be in or whether you prefer to stay at home.
- Meet and get to know your palliative care team.
(Thania Gopal, Health24, April 2009)