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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is medical care focused on relief of the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. It is delivered alongside any and all effective medical treatments.

The goal is to help people live comfortably and to provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.

With palliative care, patients have access to the best possible options for managing their specific symptoms at the same time they are receiving the best possible management of their underlying disease. Our specialists also meet with patients and their families to discuss their goals for treatment. We consider the illness as well as each individual’s personal values and priorities.

Services are delivered in collaboration and close communication with the patient, family, physicians, and health care team. All share the common goal of providing the best possible disease management and simultaneously enhancing comfort and quality of life for the patient and family.

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care may be provided at any time, often beginning at the time of initial diagnosis. Palliative care is often given at the same time as curative treatment. Hospice care, on the other hand, is focused on patients who are no longer seeking active treatments of their disease and want all treatments delivered for their comfort and quality of life. Palliative Care Clinicians can also provide hospice care for the patients and their families who desire that approach.

Who Can Benefit?

All adult and pediatric patients with a serious illness are eligible to receive palliative care. For most patients, palliative care complements the active treatments they receive for their underlying illness.

Some of the indications that palliative care might be beneficial include:

  • Pain and other kinds of discomfort that can benefit from symptom management
  • Psychosocial, emotional, and/or spiritual distress
  • Uncertainty about treatment options, goals of care or simply navigating the healthcare system
  • Need for coordination of care