【Review 2014】Palliative Care:Afterglow to Warm Life


By Xing Beilin

To chat with patients, to tell them some fresh news, to help them realize their dream as possible as one can, to accompany them in the last quiet days of life……As a practical project of the municipal government in the year of 2012, the palliative care ward of the Jing’an Temple Community received and nursed its first patient with advanced cancer in August, 2012. The year of 2014 witnessed the success of the reconstruction of the “Jing’an District Palliative Care Center”, which was ranked as an annual practical project of the municipal and district government, with the number of bed increasing from the original 10 to 25. Since the center opened up three years ago, it has received and nursed 270 patients with advanced cancer who stayed for 26 days and survived for 14 days on average. As a consequence, the satisfaction percentage of both patients and their family members has reached 100%. As the medical care personnel of the Palliative Care Center say, all the efforts they make are for the peace and dignity in the last moment of those terminal-stage patients, such as patients with advanced cancer and so forth. 

They can be accompanied on the last life road.

The problem that the Palliative Care Center must face and solve lies in how they can provide the patients with advanced cancer more and warmer humane concern and a dignified final life-stage.

Different from the coldness of general wards, the Palliative Care Center is based on the main key of warm pink. It is a cozy place of about 500 square meters, equipped with music players, activity rooms with massage armchairs and a love wall of the corridor. In addition, the special lift of the talk room and goodbye room beside the ward expresses humane care. One of the accompanying family members of the patients told the reporter that they as children would feel at ease seeing the old parents suffering less and enjoying a dignified and peaceful final life-time. 

Apart from that the arrangement and facilities of the ward express a family-like comfort and ease everywhere, the medical care personnel of the Palliative Care Ward also pay special attention to the humane concern for the patients and their family members. From the first day they come here, every patient would own a special thin nursing journal, in which the nurses will record every patient’s situation of treatment, nursing and psychological counseling, everyday life details and their little wishes.

Zhang Qiong, a full-time nurse of the Palliative Care Ward, almost buries herself in the ward for eight working-hours every day, having heart-to-heart talks with her patients and their family members, understanding their illness and finding out the problems. “Actually almost all the patients realize they don’t have much time in the world when they come in. So they more or less feel hopeless and even want to commit suicide. What I will do is to exert influence on them with true love and let them accept and trust me. Some little wishes, such as celebrating birthday, hoping that their children could come and see them and so on, which seem to be insignificant to healthy people, however are the keys to open the closed hearts of these patients. ” Zhang Qiong says.

The core is to relieve their sufferings.

    The Palliative Care Ward, receiving and nursing the patients with advanced cancer, only nurses the patients on symptoms instead of treating them purposely. That is to say, they mainly help relieve some discomforts such as pain, nausea, vomit, shortness of breath, constipation, insomnia and so forth for the patients. In the process of nursing, the patients have the biggest autonomous right. “The palliative care, which is quite different from conventional care, is a special care aiming at the patients with advanced cancer and their families. Here, to save patients is not our focus of work. Our work is all about respecting and caring our patients, relieving their sufferings as possible as we can and making sure they will enjoy a dignified and peaceful final life time.”  Says Cao Wenqun, Director of the Health Center of Jing’an Temple Community.   

    During the interview, Cao Wenqun told the reporter that pain is the largest trouble of the patients with advanced cancer in the Palliative Care Ward.  Because medicines like oral medicines, morphine injection, tranquilizer and so forth cannot ease their sufferings effectively any more. When sufferings come, nurses always accompany them, chatting with them and listening to their hobbies and interests, to offer psychological support and help them divert their attention to ease their sufferings as possible as they can. Grief counseling is also a feature of the Palliative Care Ward. Apart from psychological counseling through chatting with their family members usually, full-time nurses also make grief counseling for the family members to offer necessary soul comfort to help them calm their sad mood when the patients pass away.

The reporter learns that the main service mode of the Palliative Care Project of Jing’an District is a combination of home and hospital service, where home service dominates. The patient need to go to register and make an appointment in the outpatient service of the Palliative Care Center. And then the medical care personnel will visit his or her home for the first time, making an integrated evaluation of the patient’s illness and mental state and setting a nursing scheme after a full communication with the patient and the family members. The medical care personnel will make a visiting service or a call communication every week to have an understanding of the patient’s illness at any time according to their demands. As for the patients with advanced cancer meeting the evaluative criteria, the care center will arrange them for cozy palliative care wards in time. Now, there are 52 patients accepting home-service care.

It is another kind of respect for life. 

“Facing relatives whose illness are hopelessly incurable, many family members, who are afraid of leaving regret, hope that the medical care organization could save and treat them positively.” Cao Wenqun says. Actually, the course of disease of cancerous patients is terribly long and the treatment process is quite painful. Although it is very hard for many patients and their family members to give up positive treatment, to decrease pain of the final life time as possible as one can is also another kind of respect for life.

 To help the terminal-stage patients enjoy a most comfortable and peaceful time at their last “home”, the District Palliative Care Center communicates and cooperates positively with the district volunteer team to gather more caring people together to care for the patients to help them make a quality life out of their forthcoming parting life. Cao Wenqun tells the reporter that the volunteers participating the hand-in-hand volunteering activity have become the most trusted people apart from the medical care personnel through the communication full of warm love, although they just chat with them, do some massage for them and make some simple movements beside beds with them.


 (Source: Jing’an Times)