What is palliative care?
It is hard to live with a serious illness. You may
feel lonely, angry, scared, or sad. You may feel that your treatment is doing
more harm than good. You may have pain or other disturbing symptoms.
Palliative care can help you and your loved ones cope
with all of these things.
Palliative care is a kind of care for people who have serious illnesses. It is different from care to
cure your illness, called curative treatment. Palliative care focuses on
improving your quality of life—not just in your body, but also in your mind and
spirit. Sometimes palliative care is combined with curative treatment.
The kind of care you get depends on what you need. Your goals
guide your care. Palliative care can help reduce pain or treatment side
effects. Palliative care may help you and your loved ones better understand
your illness, talk more openly about your feelings, or decide what treatment
you want or do not want. It can also help with communication among your doctors, nurses, and loved ones.
Why would I want palliative care?
Palliative care providers are interested in what is bothering you
and what is important to you. They want to know how you and your loved ones are
doing day-to-day. They understand that your illness affects not just you, but
also those you love.
Your palliative care providers will ask questions about how your
illness affects your emotions and spirit. Then they will try to make sure that
your medical care meets your goals for your body, mind, and spirit. They will
also help you make future plans around your health and medical care.
You might see a palliative care provider just once or maybe more
often. He or she will work with your other doctors to give you the best care
How is palliative care different from hospice care?
Palliative care is for a person of any age who has a serious illness. For example, you may want palliative care while you are getting
treatment for heart failure. Palliative care could help you manage symptoms or
side effects of treatment so that you will feel better.
Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support, and spiritual resources for people who are in the last
stages of a serious illness, such as cancer or heart failure.