Terminal Care of the Patient
Marcia M Johnson
Mary M Lancaster
Now it is time that we are going, I to die, and
you to live. But which of us has the happier
prospect is unknown to anyone, but God.
Terminal care, palliative care, and chronic care are terms that are intermingled and often used interchangeably. Terminal care can be defined as the care provided to a patient with a debilitating condition that is medically incurable or not treatable using the available technology and can be expected to cause death. This includes conditions in which death is imminent, as well as chronic and debilitating conditions from which there is no reasonable hope for recovery.
Palliative care is the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. It may also be appropriate to use it to manage suffering for patients with chronic, progressive diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. The actual term "palliative care" has been adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to describe the care of patients with advanced disease. When cure is no longer possible, the goal is the achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.
Chronic care is a general term that includes the care of patients with chronic illnesses and impairments, and indicates the presence of long-term disease or symptoms, such as Alzheimer's disease. All three of the above terms may be referred to when discussing the end-stage care of the patient with Alzheimer's disease.
As the patient progresses through the stages of Alzheimer's disease, he or she becomes more and more incapacitated and eventually requires total care. Astute observation and assessment are required because the patient can no longer verbally communicate her needs. Difficulty with swallowing and loss of speech