Palliative Care is a medical specialty focusing more on improving life and providing comfort to people with serious, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses. It is not the same as hospice and does not serve only those terminally ill.
It focuses more broadly on improving life and providing comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses.
Patients can begin palliative care as soon as they’re diagnosed with a serious illness, at the same time they continue to pursue a cure. Palliative care doesn’t signal that a person has given up hope for a recovery.
Some patients recover and move out of palliative care. Others with chronic diseases, such as COPD, may move in and out of palliative care as the need arises.
If cure of a life-threatening disease proves elusive, palliative care can improve the quality of patients’ lives. And when death draws near, palliative care can segue into hospice care.
Benefits of Palliative Care
To improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family members.
- May continue aggressive treatments (dialysis, chemo-therapy, and more)
- Reduce burdensome hospital admissions and emergency room visits
- Provide an extra layer of support at home
- Help patient with the side effects of ongoing medical treatments
- Coordinate care with the patients healthcare providers.
- Assist the family with financial issues, identifying local and national resources available
- Define and direct goals of care through advanced care planning
- Education regarding advanced directives, terminology and forms
- Pain and Symptom Management
Palliative Care is for a wide spectrum of patients
- Patients diagnosed with a complex, serious illness desiring relief from pain or symptoms associated with the disease
- Person living with chronic conditions (such as peripheral vascular disease, cancer, chronic renal or liver failure, COPD, advanced heart disease, and stroke)
- Alzheimer’s with poor functional status and one or more hospitalizations in the last six months
Palliative Care is appropriate at any age and at any stage of a serious or advanced illness and can be combined with curative treatment. It is not dependent on any specific criteria or treatment options. Palliative Care supports the goals and preferences of the patients and their families by upholding the dignity and integrity of each unique patient.