Negative Effects of Palliative Car
Palliative care is a form of health care intended to reduce the physical and emotional suffering of patients facing life-threatening illnesses. Though it may provide comfort, there is a danger that palliative care can lead to negative outcomes.
Reduced Quality of Life
Palliative care can lead to a reduced quality of life due to its focus on comfort as opposed to cure. Removing aggressive treatments can mean removing treatments that could possibly lead to a cure. By not trying, there is a risk that a patient’s overall quality of life could be reduced.
Loss of Hope
By not attempting to treat a patient’s disease aggressively, the medical team may be perceived to lack faith in a patient’s ability to recover. This can provoke feelings of distress and loss of hope.
Lack of Resources
The resources devoted to palliative care can be limited. This can lead to shortages in services and limited access to pain medication or other treatments to relieve discomfort.
Loss of Autonomy
Given the need for the medical team to act in the best interest of patients, some patients may find it difficult to make decisions about their own medical care. This can lead to a feeling of powerlessness and a lack of control over care choices.
Palliative care has its place in providing comfort and improving quality of life, but it can have associated risks. These include reduced quality of life, loss of hope, a lack of resources and a loss of autonomy. It is important to consider these risks carefully when deciding to pursue palliative care and discuss them openly with patients and their families.