Palliative medicine

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What is palliative medicine?

palliative medicinePalliative medicine is a specialty that aims to enhance the quality of life of patients and their families who are faced with serious illness such as, cancer. It focuses on increasing comfort through prevention and treatment of distressing symptoms. In addition to expert symptom management, palliative medicine focuses on clear communication, advance planning, and coordination of care.

Palliative medicine can be appropriate for patients during any stage of their illness. This may include those undergoing potentially curative treatment and those living with chronic diseases, or patients who are nearing the end of life.

Diseases we provide palliative medicine for

There are millions of people in the UK living with a terminal condition. It’s important to get the right palliative care to help maintain your quality of life. Palliative medicine at BMI Healthcare offers treatment for a wide range of serious and terminal diseases including:

  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer's
  • Dementia
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Strokes
The type of palliative medicine you will receive will depend on your condition and your consultant will assess you and give you a specialist opinion on what they think is best for you.

Pain and symptom management

A wide range of medications are used to control the symptoms that palliative care patients experience. Often, medications used for palliative patients are used differently than standard medications. Their use is based on established palliative medicine practices, including the use of anticonvulsants to treat pain, morphine to treat breathlessness and antipsychotic medications to treat nausea.

Routes of administration may differ from acute or chronic care, as many patients lose the ability to swallow. A common alternative route of administration is subcutaneous, as it is less traumatic and easier to maintain than intravenous medications. Other routes of administration include sublingual, subcutaneous and transdermal. Medications can often be managed at home by family or nursing support.

Your palliative medicine consultant will:

  • Review your current medication
  • Give you a personalised treatment plan
  • Provide fast access and referral on to other specialist consultants to help with your treatment
  • Provide a re-assessment consultation

Your palliative medicine consultant will review your current list of medication and make suggestions to you and your GP as to the best choices for managing your symptoms. In-patients may also be referred to the palliative care team by the consultant managing their care and the palliative medicine consultant will come and see them on the ward.

How BMI Healthcare can help

Palliative medicine at BMI Healthcare offers you fast, direct and convenient appointments with a palliative medicine consultant. Your consultant will discuss treatment options that could relieve your symptoms so you can improve and maintain your quality of life.