What is palliative care?

Palliative care focuses on the relief of pain and suffering and on providing the best quality of life possible for patients and their families. Similar to hospice, palliative care is typically provided by a team of providers from different disciplines to address the complex needs of seriously ill patients and can be delivered in a person’s home, or at a hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility.

How can palliative care help?
Palliative care can improve quality of daily life by providing relief from physical symptoms including pain, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath and loss of appetite. By decreasing physical symptoms, individuals may be better able to tolerate medical treatments. Palliative care can also decrease the level of emotional stress and can help to better mesh treatment plans to individual and family goals.

How is palliative care different from Hospice?

Both, palliative care and hospice, sound the same when it comes to the most important issue of caring for chronically ill and terminally ill patients, but they do differ in the way care is provided. Palliative care focuses on relieving suffering and symptom management.  The patient may or may not be terminally ill and may still be receiving curative treatment.  Hospice is the care given to terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less and who are no longer seeking aggressive/curative treatment.

Is palliative care right for me?

In palliative care, you do not have to stop treatment for a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided along with curative treatment and may start at the time of diagnosis. If your doctor believes ongoing treatment is no longer effective, palliative care can transition to hospice care if the doctor believes the person is likely to die within 6 months or palliative care can continue with the focus of increasing comfort.

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