Palliative care patients experience high levels of functional disability related to their disease and the impact of its treatments. Impairment of physical function and loss of independence significantly contribute to a decreased quality of life.
Goals for physiotherapists working in palliative care should be no different to those working in any field: assessment, goal-setting, choice from a range of treatment modalities, education, establishment of self-run exercise and mobility routines, re-assessment, and adaptation of treatment and goals.
Physiotherapists working in palliative care can assist in improving a patient’s quality of life by maximising their functional independence and helping to provide relief from distressing symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue. Also, physical activity is emerging as playing a positive role in maintaining independence for patients with advanced cancer.