ISSN 2415-3060 (print), ISSN 2522-4972 (online)
  • 47 of 61
УЖМБС 2019, 4(5): 303–309
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Psychological Characteristics of Cancer Patients at the Stage of Palliative and Hospice Care

Neffa M. Yu.

Palliative medicine is based on caring for the patient’s subjective state; care for the patient; the ability to control all the symptoms of the patient’s illness and pain in the first place. The principles of palliative medicine are aimed at maintaining the quality of life. In this case, the goal of curing the patient is missing. The philosophy of hospice care is based on the understanding and acceptance of death as a natural process that cannot be accelerated, but which can be entered without losing the level of quality of life. The article highlights the peculiarities of palliative care requiring the synthesis of skills of various medical specialties. Therefore, the emergence of palliative medicine specialists as well as the specialty itself is one of the positive moments in oncological practice. The main problems for a cancer patient begin at the stage of transition from specialized to palliative care. Moreover, the perception of the disease does not always correspond to reality, as the doctors do not always provide complete information and, accordingly, the information from relatives is also confused and sparing. In the end, only a small proportion of patients are able to really and fully assess the situation, which concerns both the course of the disease and its future prospects. The irreversibility of the approaching death generates a lot of psychological reactions. One of the main negative factors at this stage of life for a patient is the impossibility of continuing observation and treatment at his oncologist; the need to find another doctor and ultimately the awareness of the need for medical care in the only possible place for him/her – the palliative or hospice ward. In this case, the purpose of palliative medicine is not limited to providing only symptomatic relief. In oncology, there are concepts of palliative radiation and drug treatment, which, unfortunately, are not carried out in modern palliative departments and hospices. The author suggests creating palliative care departments and hospices on the basis of existing oncological institutions as one of the promising developments in the care of patients with terminal stages of malignant diseases. The article discusses the principles of care for cancer patients in the departments of palliative medicine; principles of building relationships between the medical staff, the patient and his/her relatives. The stages of changes in the psychological reactions of patients from the moment they entered the department and in the process of staying in it, were traced in details. The need for development, improvement and further implementation of palliative care and hospice departments into practical medicine has been convincingly proven. In practice it will help to maintain an adequate level of quality of life for patients with malignant tumors.

Keywords: cancer patient, palliative care, hospice, quality of life

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