Patients with serious illnesses may experience pain, discomfort and other symptoms that may diminish their ability to function normally. Palliative care addresses these symptoms, focusing on making the patient as comfortable as possible. It also focuses on the psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families.
Palliative care is administered throughout the course of the illness by a team of highly trained physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and others, and includes an array of interventions that are intended to maintain quality of life, as well as ease the suffering, of the patient and his or her family.
No. Hospice care is meant specifically for those approaching the last stages of life. Hospice care focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting patients with a life expectancy of months, not years. Palliative care is appropriate for any stage of a patient’s illness, from diagnosis on.
Palliative care recognizes that people living with serious illness need expert symptom management, as well as spiritual and emotional support.
Palliative care is provided by a team of healthcare professionals who have clinical expertise in disease process, treatment options and pain/symptom management. These services do not replace the medical care a patient may already be receiving; rather, they are designed to complement existing treatment programs.
Comfort and quality of life are important aspects of palliative care, which is why the team works with your primary healthcare provider.
To begin palliative care, please ask your healthcare provider for a referral.
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