Physiotherapy is an essential element in complete recovery of the patients. A complete recovery is possible by delivering a well-structured bio-psycho-social healthcare to the patients. Palliative care is concerned with delivering care to the patients who are living with an incurable illness.
People suffering from progressive life-limiting diseases like cancer, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease etc. find it difficult to maintain a mobile lifestyle in advanced stages, thus affecting their quality of life. Palliative physiotherapy aims at improving the quality of life of patients suffering from such illnesses by integrating measures to reduce symptoms like pain and maximize movement and function. Evidence has advocated the need of physiotherapy, indicating better functioning individuals who have undertaken physiotherapy as a part of palliative care.
Physiotherapeutic palliative treatment mainly consists of limiting symptoms arising due to the condition itself or due to the ongoing medical treatment. It aims at reducing symptoms like pain, breathlessness, cough, swelling etc. by using various treatment modalities and improving mobility by including in-bed mobility exercises for bed-ridden patients, or exercises to improve strength and function in less severe conditions, thus ultimately improving activities of daily living.
Managing pain is an important aspect of treatment. Debilitating pain can arise due to the illness or because of reduced movement and mobility. Pain management by using manual therapy or electrotherapeutic modalities like SpinoCare NST, CRRT, ESWT and TENS/IFT as indicated can lead to improvement in quality of life.
Exercises to maintain and improve the physical activity need to be undertaken in early palliative care. Our tailor made programs of exercises help to maintain strength and reduce stiffness are integrated. Passive movements need to be undertaken in bed bound patients.
Soft tissue manipulation or massage to reduce tension the muscles and soft tissue often lead to relaxation of the patients.
Family or caretaker involvement is necessary to motivate the patient and keep them going. Family or caretaker need to be taught to assist in safe bed transfers of the patient, and movement in other activities of daily living. They should also be counseled and educated about the illness and its effects in order to enable them to adapt to the consequences of the same.