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Interview with Dr Geeta Joshi (Anesthesiologist) Palliative Care in Cancer

Interview with Dr Geeta Joshi (Anesthesiologist) Palliative Care in Cancer

Dr Geeta Joshi is an Anesthesiologist with a rich and profound experience of more than 30 years in the medical field. She has more than 35 Publications to her name in National Journals of Anesthesiology, Pain & Palliative Care, and GCS Research Journal. She has won the SAARC award for Excellence and Leadership in Palliative Care for her outstanding work in the field.

Misconceptions about Palliative Care

There are a lot of misconceptions on the part of both doctors and patients. Now people have come to know about the importance of palliative care, and things are improving. People always feel that palliative care is only given when the disease is not curable, and it is only for patients who are dying. So, such misconceptions hold them back from taking the services of palliative care.

The main objective of Palliative Care

The main objective of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of the patient and even the caregiver. To achieve this objective, we address the patient's aspects like the physical, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, and even financial aspects. We try to understand their worries and fears and try to make them as comfortable as possible.

The holistic approach of Palliative Care

As I mentioned, we tend to not only the physical and medical needs of the patient but also the psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of the patients as well. In short, we follow a holistic approach to tend to the needs of the patient. Initially, we open up a dialogue with the patient. There is always excellent communication established with the patient, which is of utmost importance. We explore their past and find methods through which we will be able to better connect with them. We do dignity therapy, where we find the good things they did in life and make them feel valued and dignified. We bring up memories of the good quality of life they had already spent, and that is how we express the psycho-social issues.

Palliative Care during treatment

As per the old concept, palliative care started only when the curative treatment is over; patients were referred to palliative care only when Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy were tried and found not benefiting. But as per the new concept, palliative care and all these curative treatments go hand in hand. The patient should be referred to the palliative care department right from the diagnosis so that they can establish a good rapport with the doctors and the staff. Palliative care is integrated care and can be given along with radiation and Chemotherapy. There are many instances where early palliative care reference has resulted in a better outcome for the patient; they survived for a longer time; they have a better quality of life and fewer side effects. This has been covered in several journals and publications and has been proved.

How are Pain and Stress effectively managed for cancer patients through Palliative Care?

It is not a one time job. It requires several sessions of communication with the patients. During each session, we set a goal that we want to achieve. We ask patients about their fear and make necessary documentations after each session. They will have some questions that will be causing the Stress. We try to answer their queries in the best possible way. Sometimes all they need might be reassurances regarding all their worries, which we try to give.
How does Palliative care help in the preparedness of not just the patients but also their families so that they feel more satisfied with the treatment given?

We always tell them the truth, the reality of the situation. But we don't do it bluntly; instead, we put across the facts in the right way. We always try to get answers from them on what they think of their disease. If they have some misconceptions about the disease, we try to correct them, and everything is told in detail. It is a realistic approach, always telling the truth, not hiding anything from the patient and caregivers. Whatever the patient wants to know, we tell them. In some cases, the patient will be comfortable not hearing the details, and in those cases, we explain everything to their caregivers. We respect the patient's decisions. We believe that telling the truth and reality is the essential aspect of communication with patients.
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