Palliative Care

About Palliative Care

Specialized medical care for people with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Having palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re likely to die soon – some people receive palliative care for years. You can also have palliative care alongside treatments, therapies and medicines aimed at controlling your illness, such as chemotherapy. It’s an excellent resource for anyone living with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and others.
Palliative care can be helpful at any stage of illness and is best provided soon after a person is diagnosed. In addition to improving quality of life and helping with symptoms, palliative care can help patients understand their choices for medical treatment.

You do not have to be in the hospital to receive palliative care. It can be provided in nursing homes, outpatient palliative care clinics and certain other specialized clinics, or at home. Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance policies may cover palliative care. Health insurance providers can answer questions about what they will cover.

Over time, if your doctor or palliative care team believes ongoing treatment is no longer helping, there are two possibilities. Palliative care could transition to hospice care if the doctor believes the person is likely to die within six months. Or, the palliative care team could continue to help with increasing emphasis on comfort care – care to prevent or relieve suffering as much as possible and to improve quality of life.

RESOURCES:

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones.  Read more.

Get Palliative Care

Clear, comprehensive palliative care information for people coping with serious illness. Key features of the site include a Palliative Care Provider Directory, a definition of palliative care, and detailed descriptions of what palliative care does and how to get it.