Recently the media has focused on Nelson Mandela’s illness with reporting on the need for palliative care.
I couldn’t agree more. As physicians, we need to do a better job educating the public on the role of Palliative Medicine. Too many patients hold the perception that palliative care is only for terminal patients who are too weak or too confused to help themselves. In reality, Palliative Care is for anyone who wants to die on their own terms and ensure their end of life wishes are respected. Palliative care physicians are trained to deal with many of home care and end of life issues. The support they provide to patients and families is invaluable. Many oncologists such as myself are committed to getting palliative care involved with our patients sooner in their disease course – I can only hope the media coverage helps.
Patient-focused treatment, and an individualized approach to oncology means Dr. Norleena Gullett is not just treating cancer, she's treating the whole person.