Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care (pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. The goal of palliative care is to help people live comfortably and to provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. 

Who Benefits from Palliative Care?

Palliative care treats people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiac disease (such as congestive heart failure), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more.

Who is the Palliative Care Team?

Palliative care is a team approach to care. The core team includes doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers and palliative care specialists. Massage therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists and others may also be part of the team.

What Can You Expect from Palliative Care?

  • Expert treatment of your pain and symptoms
  • Guidance with difficult treatment choices
  • Strength to carry on with daily life
  • Improved ability to tolerate medical treatments
  • Better understanding of your condition and your choices for medical care
  • Close communication about your illness and treatment choices
  • Coordination of your care among health care providers
  • Emotional and/or spiritual support for you and your family

When is the Right Time for Palliative Care?

Palliative care helps through all stages of illness. It is best introduced early in your care, and is provided at the same time as curative treatments.

Is Palliative Care the Same as Hospice Care?

No. Hospice care is meant specifically for those approaching the last stages of life, while palliative care is appropriate for any stage of a serious illness.

How Do I Get Started?

Talk to your physician to see if palliative care is right for you.

Additional Resources