What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is a medical specialty for those with serious and/or chronic illnesses such as cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, renal failure, and dementia. The focus of Palliative Care is quality of life. To palliate means to provide comfort or make less severe.
Palliative care relieves suffering through pain and other symptom management, patient/family support, spiritual counseling, goal setting, communication, and coordination of care. A team usually consisting of an doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner, nurse, social worker, and chaplain provides this care to adequately meet all the needs of the patient. Some teams may include nutritionists, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, and others.
Overall, Palliative Care helps patients to gain the strength to carry on with daily life, improves ability to tolerate medical treatments, and helps patients and their families and loved ones understand their choices for medical care.