Palliative Care

What is Palliative care?

Palliative care is given to improve the quality of life for patients who have serious or life-threatening diseases such as cancer. This type of care aims to prevent or treat the symptoms and side effects of both the disease and its treatment. It also provides support for psychological, emotional and social problems related to the illness. Palliative care is used throughout the illness and used alongside cancer treatment.

How does it differ from Hospice?

Palliative is used earlier in the care process than hospice. Hospice is a form of palliative care, and both focus on providing caring support. Hospice care is used when treatments are no longer working and it is not possible to control the disease.

 

Will my loved one get better?

It is important to have open communication with your loved

one’s doctor. At times, it can be hard to predict what the future holds. But an
honest dialogue with the doctor can help you along the way.

 

Is this really the right thing?

Palliative care provides symptom relief as well as emotional support. A team of providers can help improve the quality of life by addressing:

  • Spiritual needs
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Pain from cancer and its treatments
  • Fatigue

Research shows that this approach can benefit the patient.

 

Is my loved one in pain?

Pain and symptom control is a major focus of palliative care. Working with the patient to communicate how he or she is feeling is also an important part of this care, so providers will find out how they can help the patient. While chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery may be used to shrink tumors that are causing pain or other symptoms, palliative care may also use other methods such as physical therapy and nutrition therapy to help.

 

How do I know when it’s time?

Palliative care is available from the time of diagnosis. The palliative team can also help loved ones with the transition to hospice and end-of-life care if treatments are no longer working. Talk with the doctors about your loved one’s outlook to determine a plan together.