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Palliative Care


What is palliative care?

Palliative care is specialized care for people with serious, long-term health conditions. The goal of palliative care is to relieve your symptoms. The goal is also to help improve quality of life for you and your family. Palliative care can be helpful no matter what your prognosis is. Palliative care is provided in addition to the treatment you are already receiving. Your palliative care team will work with your healthcare providers as they treat your illness. Care will be specific to your needs and the needs of your family. Palliative care can happen at any stage of your illness. It may change if there are changes in your condition and your goals for treatment. Care can be provided in a hospital or at home. It can also be provided in other facilities, such as a long-term care facility or outpatient clinic.

Who provides palliative care?

Palliative care is provided by a team of trained care providers. This team may include:

  • Doctors, nurses, and social workers
  • Physical or occupational therapists
  • Dietitians and pharmacists
  • Chaplains and counselors

What do palliative care services include?

  • Symptom management helps ease your symptoms, such as pain, nausea, or loss of appetite. This may be done using medicines or other therapies. Support is also given to help you and your family understand your condition and explore treatment options. Decisions about your treatment will be made with your quality of life in mind.
  • Emotional and psychological support helps you and those close to you cope with feelings about your condition. Patients and their families may join support groups or meet others in similar situations.
  • Practical support assists with concerns such as employment and legal issues. It may also include financial counseling. Your social worker can help you find services that fit your needs and your family's needs.
  • Spiritual and cultural support helps you and your family evaluate religious values and cultural beliefs. Thinking about values and beliefs may make it easier to understand and accept your condition.
  • Transition support can help you, your family, and friends prepare for changes that happen near the end of life. Your palliative care team will continue to help if you need end-of-life care. Transition support can also help you readjust to daily life if your condition improves.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Palliative Care

Micromedex® Care Notes