Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Palliative care, also known as Hospice Care is specialized care for people who are terminally ill or have life-threatening conditions. It aims to relieve suffering, manage symptoms, improve quality of life and support an individual to live well before leaving.
An inter-disciplinary team consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, counsellors and trained volunteers is paramount to care for the person holistically as a "whole" - physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
What then, is the role of a physiotherapist? You might be thinking... Isn't my loved one too sick to exercise? What is there to "rehab"?
The five main roles of physiotherapy are:
1. Therapeutic Exercise
To maintain available range of motion and strength for meaningful activities that the individual wishes to engage in.
2. Therapeutic Positioning
To offload pressure points, promote existing wound healing and improve ease of breathing and overall comfort.
3. Activity Engagement
To plan and execute activities that is important and of value to the individual (often in collaboration with other members of the multidisciplinary team).
4. Caregiver Training
To prepare, pace and support caregivers in handling and assisting their loved one in their mobility and therapeutic positioning. We also teach caregivers how to look after themselves and prevent injuries while caregiving.
5. Chest Physiotherapy Techniques
To facilitate removal of secretions in the airway (when cough is too weak) and breathing exercises to improve breathlessness.
For more information on Palliative Care, visit https://singaporehospice.org.sg/palliativecare/.