The aim of rehabilitation in palliative care is to improve patients’ quality of life, so that they can live as comfortably and productively as possible. Rehabilitation hopes to help patients function with as minimal dependence on others as possible, regardless of life expectancy. It includes many different approaches and techniques that promote well-being. Rehabilitation is the responsibility of all health and social care professionals but some patients may need treatment by specialist professionals such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Some patients benefit from more intensive periods of rehabilitation, after a prolonged period in hospital for example. This may be provided in the community or as a hospice inpatient or day patient.
Physiotherapy in palliative care
Physiotherapy in palliative care can provide people with a sense of control of their own lives helping them face changes or loss. Physiotherapy aims to: promote comfort, influence pain control, maintain optimum respiratory and circulatory functions, optimise mobility and prevent muscle wasting, optimise independence and function through education and carer participation.
It focuses on supportive treatment regardless of the patient’s prognosis or diagnosis by helping them to achieve their maximum potential of functional ability and independence or gain relief from distressing symptoms.