living your best to the end

Glossary of Selected Medical Terms

  • Comfort Care
    • Provide and adjust pain medication: addiction is not a worry.
    • Treat shortness of breath : oxygen, medication.
    • Treat agitation: medications or other treatment (massage, acupuncture)
    • Treat anxiety: medications or other treatment (massage, acupuncture, music)
    • Position for comfort.
    • Treat and prevent bed or other sores
    • Relieve dry mouth
    • Relieve Constipation
    • Treat symptoms of bladder or other infections: do not administer antibiotics
    • Provide emotional support
    • Provide spiritual support
    • CPR

Chest compression and electric shocks (automated external defibrillator or AED, to help start the heart) This is usually done for 15 to 30 minutes. A tube may also be put through the mouth or nose into the lung. This tube is then connected to a breathing machine and helps the person breathe.
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    • Dialysis

May be used for temporary or permanent loss of kidney function Dialysis is a life-sustaining treatment, but it is important to recognize that dialysis also has limitations. It may not be of benefit to prolong life with dialysis if quality of life suffers dramatically.
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    • Intraveinous (IV)

An IV is used to get fluids and medications intraveinously, which means via the veins.
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    • Intubation

A tube is placed into the windpipe (trachea), through the mouth, and you will likely be placed on a breathing machine.

    • Nasogastric Feeding

Asoft plastic nasogastric tube through a patient’s nostril, past the pharynx and down the esophagus into a patient’s stomach. Also called NG tube
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    • Palliative Chemotherapy

To shrink tumor for comfort rather than cure, and possibly extend life
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    • Palliative Medications

For comfort, not cure
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    • Palliative Radiation

Aimed at relieving pain and symptoms of disease but not intended to cure the disease..
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    • Palliative Surgery

Aimed at relieving pain and symptoms of disease but not intended to cure the disease.
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    • PEG Feeding

A feeding tube placed through the skin into the stomach through a small hole in the abdomen. Also called Percutaneus Endoscopic Gastronomy, Tube Feeding.
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    • Tracheotomy

The procedure to cut a hole through the front of your neck and into your windpipe (trachea).
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    • Ventilator (Vent, Breathing Machine)

A machine that helps you breathe. Used during surgery temporarily. However, if are not able to breathe on your own, you may need a ventilator for the rest of your life. Also called: Mechanical Ventilator, Respirator.
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