“Heal sometimes, relieve often, always console “.

In 1880, Berard and Gubler coined this phrase. For health professionals who work according to the patient with advanced disease, is very present in our day to day.

At the University, at least a few years ago, it was not contemplated the possibility of “only” relieve disease. We usually accompany patients and families who have the despair of a cancer or no cancer process without cure. It takes into account not only physical aspects, but psychological, social and spiritual. The comprehensive approach to the patient and his family is basic in terms of comfort and well-being. They are re most effective when are provided from interdisciplinary teams of specialists (doctors, psychologists, nurses and social workers, mainly), but they should be part of any health care professional when the person who attends is in terminal situation, without the possibility of active treatment.

On October 11, was held the Worl Day of Palliative Care. It is always said that they should be every day of the year, but it is true that this reputation makes society becomes aware of the need for scarce resources, due to the extensive health demand. This year we have tried the dissemination of these data in social networks with the slogan #maspaliativos14.

The Spanish Society for palliative care (SECPAL) and the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC) claim on the occasion of the world day palliative care as the best way of ending an “avoidable pain”.

Each year, in Spain, more than 200,000 people need palliative care in the months before their death from cancer or other diseases. Of them, approximately 100,000 will require the intervention of complete equipment, specialized in care at the end of life, since their situation may be sporadic or permanent complex. Evidence shows that the intervention of teams of palliative care is highly effective in reducing pain, dyspnea, nausea, anxiety, sadness and other symptoms related to the disease at an advanced stage.

It is estimated that less than 50% of patients who require access to palliative care teams get to be evaluated by one of these teams. Access to these resources in non-oncological pathology, young and children is even more difficult.

From the point of view of universal coverage claimed this year on the occasion of the world day, Spain currently has about 425 units of palliative care, opposite the 750 that we would need to give a benefit of 100 per cent of palliative persons in Spain.

All that we take care of patients with advanced disease, we learn to accompany and comfort. This allows to alleviate the suffering of the patients and families; and to us as professionals to grow and mature every day. It is a unique experience.

Diego Ruiz Lopez.
Physician in Palliative Home Care Team – Legazpi, Madrid (Spain)