Palliative Care

Palliative care is comprehensive care used to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients suffering from life-threatening or terminal diseases as well as those of their close relatives.

Palliative care is needed by patients who suffer from incurable cancer or some other advanced disease. Palliative care may last for years, while end-of-life care precedes the assumed approaching time of death, the last weeks of life.

In Pirkanmaa, palliative care is implemented according to a network of services agreed with the municipalities. The palliative unit of Tays ensures palliative care in special health care and serves as a consulting party in Pirkanmaa. Daily support, for example home care, and the end-of-life care phase are ensured by the municipalities or Pirkanmaa Hospice.

Palliative pharmacotherapy

Many symptoms, such as pain, difficulty in breathing and nausea can be alleviated with the help of pharmacotherapy. Palliative care involves the skilled use of such drugs, for example powerful pain medication.

Symptom-related medication is implemented both at the palliative unit and end-of-life care units. Epidural pain management and other special procedures of pain management are ensured by the pain management anaesthesiologists of Tays.

Palliative procedures

The symptom-relieving procedures include drainage of pleura or abdominal cavity fluid by means of a single puncture or a more permanent drain tunnelled subcutaneously. These procedures are performed at the palliative unit of Tays and, in applicable parts, also at the end-of-life care units.

Rarer special procedures are implemented at the units of other specialities at Tays. For example, metal mesh stents used to open blocked bile ducts or oesophagus are placed at gastroenterology.

Palliative radiation therapy

Some cancer patient symptoms can be effectively alleviated with the help of radiation therapy. Typically, these include pain related to bone metastases and symptoms of brain metastases. The palliative unit makes a decision on the need for palliative radiation therapy and the therapy is provided at the radiation therapy unit.

Psychosocial support

A serious disease often causes anxiety, mental symptoms and social challenges in the patient and his/her close relatives, for example, in relation to financial matters.

The personnel of the palliative unit support the patient in these issues. The services of special workers, such as a social worker, hospital theologian and psychiatric nurse are also available.

These support forms are continued by the home care and end-of-life care units.

End-of-life care plan

It is wise to prepare a plan for the weakening of overall condition and end-of-life care well in advance, even if it not be needed straight away (‘a plan for when things take a turn for the worse’). It is burdensome to begin looking at the treatment path and support forms when your condition is already weakening.

We prepare these plans at the palliative unit of Tays together with the patient and his/her close relatives. The Palliative Care Unit cooperates closely with the municipal home care, health centre hospitals and Pirkanmaa Hospice, i.e. the units providing end-of-life care.

We send the treatment instructions to the units of further treatment and serve as a consulting party in problematic situations.

Persons in charge

Chief Physician Juho Lehto
Ward Manager Merja Kaikkonen