Advanced Integrative Oncology Palliative Care Course

Palliative Care Re-Defined

So, the sabbatical has come and gone. The biggest ongoing project I intended to complete during my sabbatical, “the course” as so many of my patients know it, was successfully completed, launching later this month. Finally!

The course is called the Advanced Integrative Oncology Palliative Care Course. This course teaches doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers everything there is to know about the 26 most common symptoms experienced by people living with chronic serious illness. This is a topic I am very passionate about. It is sadly misunderstood by most people, both patients and healthcare providers alike.

For prospective students who want to learn more about what this course is all about, I will be conducting a free information session webinar:  

WEBINAR: AIOPC Course Information Session

Monday, June 10th at 5:00 pm PST

Most people associate palliative care with the end of life. This is not the case at all! Palliative care should be initiated as early as possible in the care of people living with any “serious illness”. From the time of diagnosis, palliative care improves the quality of life, and as some studies show, it also can improve overall survival. With some extra training in palliative care, healthcare providers can contribute to the excellent and coordinated care of the seriously ill, with multiple providers involved.

A serious illness is defined by the W.H.O as any “health condition that carries a high risk of mortality and either negatively impacts a person’s daily function or quality of life, and/or excessively strains their caregiver.”

Palliative care is not just for those with metastatic cancer. The symptoms experienced in advanced cancer are like those in advanced cases of heart (CHF), lung (COPD, pulmonary fibrosis), renal (late-stage CKD), and neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s).

Now, what is palliative care?

  • Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with therapies that are intended to prolong life and includes all investigations.
  • Used along curative or life-prolonging treatment (as opposed to hospice care).
  • Provided over time based on needs, regardless of prognosis.
  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms.
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of care.
  • Offers a support system to help persons live as actively as possible.
  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the person’s illness and in their own bereavement.
  • Uses a team approach to address the needs of persons and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated.
  • Will enhance quality of life and may also positively influence the course of illness.

Remember, that the word palliative stems from the word ‘palliare’ which means ‘to cloak’ or ‘to cover’ in Latin. Here is a nice analogy from my friend, medical oncologist and palliative care physician Dr. Joe McCollom:

“Imagine someone standing out in the pouring rain, and you walk out into the rain, take off your coat, and wrap it around them. You do not stop the rain, but you offer something critical they needed. The coat = symptom management. Walking into the rain = therapeutic presence. When I’m a medical oncologist I try to alter the weather. When I’m a palliative care physician, I’m the guy out in the rain.”

Here are at IHC, we provide the very best practices in palliative care and ultimately quality of life for all our patients diagnosed with any serious chronic diseases requiring ongoing management. We have learned a lot of the past 25 years and continue to strive to provide the highest standards of health care.

If you or anyone you know are suffering poorly managed symptoms such as pain, insomnia, depression, nausea, neuropathy, etc., come talk to one of our experienced doctors, led by myself and palliative care specialist Dr. Kevin Sclater, MD, CCFP(PC). I am certain that we can help.

Dr. Gurdev Parmar, ND, FABNO(USA)

Founder & Dean of Academics

Integrative Oncology Institute