COMMUNICATION, INFORMATION, AND HELP
Patients who have a terminal illness need to express their worries, fears, doubts to someone who knows how to listen, so that they can adapt to their situation and understand what is happening to them gradually and at their own pace.
Communication is an essential, therapeutic tool and one of the basic instruments in palliative care. The main objective is to understand how the illness is affecting the patient so that he/she can be helped in the process to adapt to their new reality, with sincerity, and respecting the patient´s autonomy. This helps to increase the patient´s level of satisfaction, relieve stress, and improve the quality of life, offering mutual trust and security.
Communication is also important in caring for the family. A family who receives clear information, health advice, evaluation, and the correct emotional support, apart from reducing stress, carries out their role as carers more efficiently.
THE TRUTH: TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL
The truth is a process. Telling the truth is not incompatible with hope and it supports the principle to respect the autonomy of the patient. Equally, patients have the right not to be informed if they so wish (10% of patients do not want to speak about their illness and do not want any information).
Dra. Sara Martínez Membrilla