Palliative Care

Palliative Care Withdrawing Treatment in an Acute Care Setting
    An issue that arises in palliative care is when it is the right time to withdraw treatment, this situation happens frequently in haematology, which shall be focused on in this essay. The World Health Organisation (WHO, 1990) defines palliative care as an ‘approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of pain and suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.’ This quotation reflects that palliative care is about offering patients holistic treatment which often not only affects patients but their families too. 
Patients with haematological diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma, after having chemotherapy, are prone to sepsis and therefore have to be admitted to hospital. Sepsis is a condition in which the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread to the bloodstream. People at risk are people with cancers and who are being treated with chemotherapy (eMedicine Health, 2009). Once they are in hospital they are treated with a course of antibiotics, usually Tazocin, gentamicin or vancomycin and in some cases antifungal treatments are necessary (Griffiths, 2008). As well as being treated with antibiotics for their low white cells and neutrophils, their haemaglobin and platelet counts drop too so they are treated with blood transfusion's and platelet transfusions. Many patients loose their appetite and become dehydrated and are then started on intravenous fluids (, 2005). Certain leukaemia's and lymphoma's have a poor prognosis (Miller, 2009). However many doctors continue to actively treat such patient's and some people from the medical profession feel that treatment should be withdrawn earlier so they then can be made comfortable and be treated for...