Physiotherapy in palliative care

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Published: 27 Mar 2017
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Dr Mugda Vaidya - Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre, Pune, India

Dr Vaidya speaks with ecancer at IAPCON 2017 about her role as a physiotherapist in the palliative care setting which also includes physical therapy treatment for lymphedema.

She discusses how she keeps up to date with her education and stresses the importance experience plays in her own learning.

She concludes by talking about the importance of physical exercise for patients’ quality of life.

Physiotherapy or physical therapy aims to maintain and promote the functional independence of the patient. So I go for training and retraining their strength, we go for assessment of their available strength; we make use of the available potential that they have and then we maintain and improve their available mobility and strength. This is the role of a physiotherapist, I feel, in the palliative care. Along with that we have lymphedema care in palliative care as a physiotherapist role, so we have a separate set of exercises and all techniques for the management of lymphedema in palliative care.

How do you maintain your education?

About education there are lots of new things that are coming into the picture as far as physiotherapy interventions are concerned in palliative care. We upgrade ourselves through all the research papers that we have; we meet with the experts in this field so that we can come to know what all new things that they are doing so that we can come to know. Likewise we get ourselves updated and a very good learning modality is the experience that you experience in the ward. So experience is very important; through experience you learn a lot of things.

What are the future priorities of your team?

Generally if you consider physiotherapy or physical exercises in palliative care or for any individual, as soon as the patient enters into end of life care generally their tendency is to ask the patient to rest, not to do exercises. My concern is each and every patient in palliative care can be given some sort of physical exercises which help the patient and help to improve his own quality of life. So my expectations in future from myself is to spread the word about awareness of physiotherapy in palliative care which is very, very effective and I would like to promote all aspects of it.