Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Ligano :European Society Medical Oncology
21st ESMO Congress, Nov. 01-05, 1996, Vienna, Austria
, p. 141-151
University of Antwerp
More and more people seem to be convinced of the idea that, to best ensure the patient's quality of life, it is not always the hospital but often the patient's own home that can offer him the most comforting place when suffering from a terminal illness. Caring for such an incurable patient at home is a challenge; it requires thoughtful consideration but at the same time it can be a rich and satisfying experience. This article will outline some aspects relating to this theme; it will offer some general information as well as many practical tips that may help the family and the professional team in caring for a seriously ill person at home. After some suggestions on how to prepare for the discharge of the patient from the hospital to the home, we discuss the different possibilities of outside help. In this part, the important role of the family physician and the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach are emphasised. Then, some financial aspects are considered; in the section 'caring for the patient', a number of practical considerations and recommendations are provided on topics such as planning the patient's return home, basic care, the palliative approach with pain and symptom management. Finally this contribution concludes with a few reflections relating to some communicative aspects between the seriously ill patient cared for at home, his or her family, and the professional team supporting him or her.