Palliative Care in Neurological Diseases

  • Shoba Nair


Many of the most frequent neurological diseases are chronic, incurable, and autonomy-impairing illnesses. Neurological conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/motor neuron disease (MND), Parkinson’s disease (PD), the associated progressive supranuclear palsy and multiple systems atrophy, and multiple sclerosis (MS) exhibit their own unique characteristics and have their own clinical course with complex and variable symptoms, disability, and prognosis. Palliative care focuses on the patient’s and their family member’s quality of life in the entire course of a disabling and life-limiting disease. As healthcare professionals are increasingly recognizing the fact that patients benefit from good symptom management and a holistic approach, the utility of palliative care service comes into focus. It is important to recognize, assess, and manage pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, dyspnea, and neuropsychiatric symptoms in these patients. Caregivers find it extremely difficult to cope with the high amounts of physical and mental needs that patients with neurological diseases have, and this should be addressed. Patients and their family members have a right to know about their disease prognosis, and they can be encouraged to have any advance directives documented, when they have the capacity to make a decision. This would ensure that they have a pragmatic end-of-life care plan in place, which ensures excellent end-of-life care. Palliative care ensures that patients not only have quality in their lives but also quality toward their end of life and dignity in dying and death. As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to achieve this goal in patient care. In order to ensure this, it is imperative that neurology and palliative care teams work together.


Neurological diseases Palliative care Symptom management Advance directives End-of-life care 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shoba Nair
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Palliative MedicineSheffield Teaching HospitalsSheffieldUK

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