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Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - English / News  / Palliative Care: The Pope’s call and the reflections of Dr. Álvaro Díaz

Palliative Care: The Pope’s call and the reflections of Dr. Álvaro Díaz

Beginning February, the month in which the Church celebrates the World Day of the Sick, the Supreme Pontiff, in a video message, made an emphatic call to comprehensively accompany the terminally ill. In this regard, we present some reflections from our brother Álvaro Díaz, a doctor specializing in palliative care and member of the Palliative Care Association of Colombia.

Francis advocates palliative care

In his words, the Pope highlights the importance of offering not only medical care, but also psychological, spiritual and human support. On the other hand, he emphasizes that, although cure is not always achievable, the act of caring for and accompanying the sick is essential.

Francis advocates the implementation of palliative care that ensures complete care, including crucial human support. Furthermore, he emphasizes the responsibility of not leaving families alone in difficult times, urging them to offer them the necessary resources for physical, spiritual and social support.

Let’s talk about palliative care

Based on the “decalogue for dying well” by palliative medicine specialist Jacinto Bátiz, Álvaro presents in an article ten considerations to accompany terminally ill patients.

His approach highlights the importance of treating the patient as a valuable human being, allowing him to express his emotions, participate in decisions and not let him die alone.

Furthermore, it highlights the need to provide palliative care that respects life and avoids euthanasia.

Advice for family members of terminally ill patients

On this path, family unity during the last stages of life is very important, says Álvaro in an interview with the newspaper El Espectador. Emphasizing the need to mitigate the patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual suffering.

He advises families to create a pleasant environment, focusing on spending quality time and taking advantage of the moments. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of maintaining a positive attitude towards the patient, avoiding showing distress or depression, and highlights the joy and gratitude that patients experience when sharing time with their loved ones.

In cases of hospitalization, it recommends the need to provide a serene and warm environment for patients . Ultimately, it highlights the importance of reconciliation, forgiveness and gratitude during meetings with your family members, underlining the essence of living in the present in the best way possible.

How can we accompany patients with terminal illnesses?

In this videoconference, broadcast on the Facebook page of the Nuestra Señora de la Reconciliación parish, Álvaro shares reflections from his experience as an internist who works in the area of palliative care in a Colombian clinic, accompanying patients who are going through the final stage of their life.

You can always take care of yourself”

Faced with the hopelessness faced by patients with incurable diseases, Álvaro highlights in his article: “When you can no longer cure, you can always take care of yourself” that contemporary medicine, through palliative care, offers a holistic and comprehensive alternative.

In the article he emphasizes the need to prepare people for death, not only mitigating physical pain but also providing support. Palliative care respects the dignity of human life until the last moment, thus differentiating itself from approaches such as euthanasia and dysthanasia.

Finally, Álvaro shares how palliative care has strengthened his awareness of the suffering of others, highlighting the importance of small acts to promote good and reaffirming humanity in the process of caring until the last moment of the patient’s existence.

Check out more content from Álvaro Díaz on palliative care at this link.