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28/04/2018 | 28.04.18 Diario EL PAÍS

The British Hospital consolidates palliative care provision

The British Hospital consolidates the provision of palliative care to its adult and children affiliates, as a result of the work and experience of two multidisciplinary teams, made up of medical professionals from different specialties, psychologists and nurses.

The units of Palliative Care for Adults and the Pediatric Palliative Care are both conformed by internists, an oncologist, a pediatrician specialized in palliative care, psychologists, nurses and nursing staff.
At the same time both teams work in close coordination with the British Hospital Home Care Service.

Palliative care “is the care given to the patient and their family or to a responsible person. It refers to an integral, individualized and continuous assistance”, mentioned Dr. Lila Borràs, coordinator of the Adult Palliative Care Unit.
She valued that regarding this type of attention, as time goes by ignorance is being left behind, and said that “the goal is to live better, improve life quality, and do not speeding up or stopping any process”.

During the last years, both, the number of adults and children who recieve palliative care at the British Hospital has increased.

The request for this type of care may come from the patients treating doctor. “There is a very good receptivity from the patient and the families, the patient is individually assisted and in an integral way,” she said.

Thus, the coordinated work between the patient´s treating doctor and the family is essential. “We seek to give support to the family with the control of their symptoms and in the accompaniment of the patient,” explained Borràs.

She recalled that it is estimated that “for every patient there are two companions who require assistance”.

In case of having to process a mourning situation, the team also provides support in order to avoid a “pathological mourning”. Each family faces the situation in a different way, according to the age of the deceased, his/her role within the family or the way the process was handled, among other factors.

The use of palliative care does not mean giving up healing. An study in 2010 showed that when palliative care is used in an early way, patients have better life quality, less depression and more survival.

In children, “palliative care must “begin from the moment of diagnosis, along with the healing treatment, as well as value and perform the stepped treatment for the pain and other annoying symptoms including all comfort care for the child”, said Dr. Joyce Stewart, coordinator of the Pediatric Palliative Care Unit of the British Hospital.

The specialist also indicated that pediatric palliative care becomes necessary “when facing an unexpected diagnosis of a cronic disease, that threatens or limits the life of the patient, not necessarily with a terminal perspective”.

Pediatric palliative care is based in three pillars: communication, decision making by the child and the family besides giving priority to their comfort.

“Families are the most grateful with this unit, they recognize the difference, they appreciate our help in communication and the support we provide to the relation with the treating doctor, in a complex assistance that sometimes does not involve one specialist only”, she highlighted.