Palliative Care is specialized medical care for people with a serious illness while still allowing them to pursue treatment. The goal of palliative care is to relieve the suffering of patients and provide the best possible quality of life, regardless of age or treatment plan. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, chaplains and other specialists who support the patient by delivering an extra layer of support.
Many people believe that palliative care is only for patients whose illness cannot be treated or who are close to the end of life. In fact, palliative care is most beneficial when it is started early so that it can help address common symptoms caused by disease process and/or treatment to ensure the best quality of life for patients. For this reason, palliative care is often referred to as supportive care or symptom control.
Patients are often dealing with multiple symptoms, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, poor sleep, constipation, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, depression or anxiety. Palliative care focuses on helping you feel better so you can enjoy life.
In addition, patients may be struggling with issues related to medical decision-making. The Palliative Care Team will assist with advance care planning, in which we discuss your future healthcare needs and decisions. This will help you communicate your goals of care and share your values and wishes.
Palliative care can include:
Palliative care is available to any inpatient facing a serious or life-threatening illness. Ask your doctor to refer you to the Palliative Care Team.