Improving quality of life
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care (pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized care for people with serious illnesses such as cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease and many more. The goal of palliative care is to improve the patients’ quality of life. This is done by focusing on providing symptom relief and exploring the patients’ goals of care and treatment choices. Palliative care is provided by a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains who work together with a patient’s family as well as the other health care providers to provide an extra layer of support.
The Palliative Care Team can assist with:
- Treating symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath and anxiety
- Providing spiritual and emotional support
- Explaining treatment options
- Helping with communication between patients, their loved ones and members of their health care team
- Coordinating care based on a patient’s values and hopes
When is Palliative Care helpful?
Palliative care is appropriate at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. Palliative care is beneficial for those suffering with physical symptoms, emotional issues and spiritual concerns. It is helpful when patients and families are having a difficult time making treatment decisions.
The Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice
Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative Care is available for patients at any time in their treatment process. It focuses on improving symptoms and helping with discussions about what patients’ want from their medical care.
Hospice is care provided to a person who is in the last stages of a terminal illness. It is a special type of care that is available for those who may have approximately six months to live. Hospice care focuses on maintaining comfort for those who no longer have curative treatments options or who do not want to continue the process of life-prolonging treatment.
Palliative care may include education or discussions about hospice care options if appropriate.
Contact Us 859.278.4869
Patient and Family Resources
Center to Advance Palliative Care - www.capc.org
Get Palliative Care - getpalliativecare.org
Caring Connections provides free, in-depth information on advance directives, including state by state forms. - www.caringinfo.org
The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship is a survivor-led cancer advocacy organization that advocates for quality cancer care for all Americans. - www.canceradvocacy.org/
Family Caregiver Alliance offers information for families and friends caring for adults with chronic, disabling illness. - www.caregiver.org