Striving to address a growing demand for compassionate, specialist care for patients with high-dependency palliative care needs, Nawaloka Hospitals announced that their Palliative Care unit is well-geared to address the complex physical and psychological requirements of patients with serious advanced illnesses and supporting family members providing care to loved ones. In addition, the Hospital revealed plans to reach out to more patients by setting up a Palliative Care Mobile service. Palliative Care is a specialized field that require the services of doctors and nurses with expertise on the care of terminally ill patients. 

“Palliative Care is much more than mere pain relief and requires the attention of medical staff with intensive training in various aspects of the subject from clinical support to emotional and psychological support. It is a very personalized, compassionate and unique care model in healthcare. Accordingly, we have set up a highly trained professional unit to provide care to our patients,” commented Dr. Kanakaratna, Nawaloka Hospitals. 

In a special report on Palliative Care, the World Health Organization defined Palliative Care as ‘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. 

The report further revealed that every year more than 20 million (on a global scale) patients need palliative care and that the great majority of the global need for end-of-life care is associated with non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung diseases. Given its fast aging population, Sri Lanka too will need to make necessary preparations to provide care to this particular segment of the population. 

Commenting further Dr. Kanakaratna said, the palliative care model can be adopted to improve the quality of life of this group of patients. This can be done through symptomatic relief, for example pain control plus a variety of other methods. It is important to support the patient and families when they are going through these difficult periods of their lives.” 

Palliative care is not limited to specialist palliative care services but includes primary and secondary level care as well. Palliative care is provided wherever a person’s care takes place,

whether this is the patient’s own home, a care facility, hospice in-patient unit, hospital, or outpatient or day care service.

Nawaloka Hospitals plan to initiate a Mobile Palliative Care service for patients who wish to receive the same standard of speciality care that the in-patients receive. In addition, Nawaloka Hospitals will establish a 24 hour hotline for patients to reach the Palliative Care team at the hospital.