Palliative care: managing the total pain

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Vinicius Kaiser Queiroz, 20 years old, a second year medical student at UFPel, located in Pelotas, RS, Brazil. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Palliative care, has been gaining recognition and prominence nowadays, however advances in coverage are necessary to amplify this access and provide health in a broad and complete way.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in a concept defined in 1990 and updated in 2002, “Palliative Care consists of assistance promoted by a multidisciplinary team, which aims at improving the quality of life of patients and their families, in the face of a life-threatening disease, through prevention and relief of suffering, through early identification, impeccable evaluation and treatment of pain and other physical, social, psychological and spiritual symptoms”.

As can be seen from the description above, palliative care goes far beyond the process of dying or terminality, is to treat the human being as in fact a human, mortal, complex and encompass all its peculiarities.  

To defend palliative care is to defend one’s own quality of life, to guarantee support in a moment of vulnerability and hopelessness. It is worth mentioning that even from the name, which from the Latin “Pallium” means mantle or blanket, one can analyze the importance of palliative care and that in fact they are essencial for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), representing the welcoming and integral aspect of this service. 

Promoting universal health is based on the principle of welcoming, supporting and striving to ensure quality of life for thousands of people, so the concept of “Total Pain” initially described by Cicely Saunders fits perfectly to achieve the goals of the UHC. Total pain, addresses the individuality of the being and multidisperses pain into physical, psychic, social and spiritual pain, ensuring the integrity of health. 

For years, social and spiritual pain has been overlooked, however with the emergence of person-centered medicine and public health policies this approach has changed. Therefore, being a trivial specialty to ensure the relief of these pains, palliative care becomes essential when thinking in a universal health context. 

In Brazil and other countries, there are still few places focused on this care, however with the growth of hospices and professionals in the area, the population quality of life improved, especially in the process of death. Defending palliative care in UHC is necessary to guarantee the integral approach on health for all.


Nakasu MVP. Em defesa de uma certa Enfermidade: Cuidados Paliativos em Debate / In defense of a certain Disease: Palliative Care in Debate. Rev Cienc Saude [Internet]. 1 [citado 22º de dezembro de 2020];3(4):2-. Disponível em:

Panikulam A. Total pain management. Indian J Palliat Care. 2011 Jan;17(Suppl):S68-9. doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.76246. PMID: 21811375; PMCID: PMC3140083.

About the author

Vinicius Kaiser Queiroz, 20 years old, is a second year medical student at UFPel, located in Pelotas, RS, Brazil. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA).  Vinicius is passionate about making this world a better place and help others to achieve a better quality of live.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This farmer used an age-old technique to save his soil and now his farm is prospering

Stronger partnerships with post-conflict countries needed to ensure ‘path towards durable peace’: UN chief

EU consumer rules: Airbnb cooperates with European Commission and EU consumer authorities improving the way it presents offers

Assembly President launches new initiative to purge plastics and purify oceans

To feed 10 billion people, we must preserve biodiversity. Here’s how

Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Women’s rights: MEPs call for action to fight backlash against gender equality

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

Reusable packaging: 6 benefits beyond sustainability

Our present and future tax payments usurped by banks

Aviation Safety: Commission adopts new EU Air Safety List

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

Eurozone stagnates after exporting its recession to trading partners

Juncker Plan reaches almost €410 billion in triggered investment across the EU

Technology can transform clinical practice – here’s how

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

The Cold War had an unintended side effect: It created a European wildlife paradise

‘Counter and reject’ leaders who seek to ‘exploit differences’ between us, urges Guterres at historic mosque in Cairo

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

How our food system is eating away at nature, and our future

Medical workforce migration in Europe – Is it really a problem?

Four things workers want implemented by their bosses post-pandemic

‘Unlock opportunities’ and pave the way for sustainable development, UN chief urges on World Population Day

This Japanese experiment shows how easily coronavirus can spread – and what you can do about it

EU and Georgia sign Financing Agreements for COVID-19 Recovery worth €129 million

Security Council urges countries to factor child protection into conflict prevention efforts

Peer-to-peer learning: a way to develop medical students’ trainings

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving Globalization 4.0

MEPs demand safe and clean travel

3 ways to stop COVID-19 from drying up start-up talent pools

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Apple® logo (copyright: Apple)

Apple takes further step into music: EU Regulators formally approve its planned Shazam acquisition

How do we upskill a billion people by 2025? Leadership and collaboration will be key

Palliative care: an indispensable component for a better quality of life

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

Unity, regional cooperation and international support needed for Horn of Africa to develop sustainably

How we can work together in the fight against NCDs

The first-ever climate telethon has raised $2.6 million for new forests

Parliament approves seven-year EU budget 2021-2027

Anti-terror measures against youngsters’ online posts ‘linked to spike in child detention globally’

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

How the world’s best teacher is changing lives in Africa

Coronavirus: Commission approves contract with BioNTech-Pfizer alliance to ensure access to a potential vaccine

Mindfulness: a freedom we can still have in the pandemic

Obama turns the G20 summit into warmongering platform

Cheese energy could power hundreds of UK homes

COVID-19: MEPs fear impact on justice system and threat to rule of law

Greek citizens to pay the price again but Tsipras risks losing next elections

5 lessons for community-focused planning during a pandemic

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Mental health In Times of a Pandemic: What can each Individual to lessen the Burden.

WHO and UNICEF in campaign to protect 1.6 million in Sudan from cholera

UN ready to rise above political fray and help Venezuelans based ‘on need, and need alone’

Commission notifies the Republic of Panama over the need to step up action to fight against illegal fishing

This man is helping explorers carry out scientific research at the ends of the Earth

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cows, coffee and sustainable farming

“Smoking steam instead of tobacco, are the E-cigarettes a safer alternative?”

Wages are flatlining around the world – is automation to blame?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s