Listen to this conversation between palliative care doctors and Discovery team members that explore palliative care in depth, explaining that it improves the quality of life for patients and families through managing symptoms comprehensively – including physical, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects.
It emphasises that palliative care should be integrated early alongside curative treatments, with the intensity increasing over time as needed, including ultimately bereavement support for families.
Conversations with patients around goals, values, and likely disease progression is key.
Research shows palliative care improves quality of life, reduces depression/anxiety, and may even prolong life.
Locally, more clinician training and public awareness are needed in South Africa.
Overall, palliative care is a continuous journey focused on the patient as a whole person within their family and community.