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 make sure your doctors, nurses, and loved
ones understand your goals and are "on the same page."
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?
Hospice care is a type of palliative care for
people who are in their final weeks or months of life.
Palliative care is for a person of any age, whether or not his or her illness is terminal.
Today, palliative care can help anyone 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.
Who is involved in palliative care?
Palliative care actively involves you and your loved ones.
Together you will work with health care providers in your doctor's office or
your home, or in a hospital, nursing home, or hospice. If you are interested in
palliative care, talk with your doctor. He or she may be able to manage your
palliative care needs or may refer you to someone who is trained in palliative