What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer. Palliative care is an approach to care that addresses the person as a whole, not just their disease. The goal is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, in addition to any related psychological, social, and spiritual problems. Palliative care is also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management. Patients may receive palliative care in the hospital, an outpatient clinic, a long-term care facility, or at home under the direction of a physician.
- National Cancer Institute
Palliative care is specialized health care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of an illness, and it is based on need, not prognosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of physicians, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.
- Center to Advance Palliative Care
The goals of palliative care include:
- Reducing pain and suffering
- Providing extra support and care for patient and family
- Helping with decision making around treatment options
- Enhancing quality of life
- Using a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families
- Working in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Reducing stress related to illness or treatments
Any patient experiencing a serious illness is a candidate for palliative care. It is appropriate for any age at any stage of serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.
Our team includes specially-trained physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses, social workers, and other specialists who work together with the patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
Ask your doctor about a referral to the Palliative Care Program. We are available during business hours by referral to patients in the Cancer Center.