HEART FAILLURE AND PALLIATIVE CARE: EN-OF-LIFE CARE
Previously: imminent end of life,
5 important topics are covered:
- another look at heart failure and at active therapy,
- a personal action plan,
- supportive care and help, in conjunction with an active therapy treatment,
- imminent end of life,
- end-of-life care
Transitioning to the palliative care phase for heart failure patients
The palliative care phase intensifies gradually until it reaches 100% of the care the patient receives. In some cases, a modified prescription is issued, and treatment should start before the palliative care support process begins, if at all possible.
The heart failure active therapy is withdrawn and is replaced with an opioid medication. Opioids reduce the anxiety and anguish that the heart failure patient may feel and provide him with an overall sensation of well-being.
The goal of this type of treatment is to provide maximum comfort to the patient, both physical and psychological. Active Listening is part of the comfort care therapy and is more than likely its most useful component at this stage.
Each patient is unique.
Never hesitate to inform the medical team when the patient still feels physical and/or psychological pains.
The patient's well-being and the dignity he deserves should always come first and foremost.
At this stage, comfort care is more often described as palliative care. It can be provided at home under certain conditions. The multidisciplinary team makes sure that all the required services are made available to the caregivers concerned.
At the hospital
For some heart failure patients, comfort care can be provided in a hospital only. Unlike cancer, prognosis in this case is not as obvious. Because of a heart failure patient's fragile sense of stability, a benign infection might be quite upsetting. This is how the heart failure patient and his entourage end up at the hospital where the patient is diagnosed as being in the last phase of his disease.
Palliative Care Center
Depending on how the disease is progressing, the patient may be admitted to a palliative care center, a hospital or be provided services at his home.
The patient's wishes are respected, as well as it is possible to do so. His end-of-life preferences are listened to attentively. The healthcare team does everything it can to ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible.
Communications are particulaly important at this stage of life.
Medically assisted death
It is now possible for a patient to request medical aid in dying. Beyond the religious beliefs of the people close to him and those of the various members of the healthcare team responsible for him, accompaniment and resources are made available to the patient in full respect of the law in force, and mainly of the patient himself.