What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is a medical specialty focusing on the care of patients with chronic or advanced illness with equal attention to emotional and spiritual well-being.
The goal of palliative care is to ease pain and suffering to help patients and their families achieve the highest quality of life. Palliative care can be provided at any time during an illness and can be provided at the same time as treatment that is meant to cure the patient.
What is the difference between Palliative Care and Hospice?
Palliative care is not the same as hospice. Palliative care is appropriate at any time during a patient’s advanced or chronic illness. Palliative care can be provided at the same time as treatment that is meant to cure the patient.
Hospice is focused on caring for terminally ill patients who no longer seek a cure for their illness and are expected to live for approximately six months or less.
Who provides Palliative Care?
Care continues to be provided by the patients attending doctor with the addition of the palliative care team. The palliative care team consists of:
- Board certified Palliative Care physicians
- Advanced practice nurses
- Social workers
- Spiritual care providers
- Physical and occupational therapists
- Music and massage therapists
How do I know if palliative care is right for a loved one or myself?
Palliative care may be right for you if you suffer from pain or other symptoms due to an advanced or chronic illness such as:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease (COPD/emphysema)
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Sickle cell anemia
- Alzheimer's disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
How does Palliative Care help patients and their families?
- Treats the whole person by offering medical, emotional, spiritual and social support
- Makes the patient feel better throughout their illness by treating pain and symptoms such as: shortness of breath; loss of appetite; fatigue; constipation; and difficulty sleeping
- Helps the patient and family understand the illness and choices for care
- Offers guidance and support with difficult medical decisions
- Assists with communication between medical staff
- Eases transition between health care settings
- Offers compassionate family support
How do I get Palliative Care?
Ask your doctor for a Palliative Care consultation for your loved one or yourself.
"The palliative care team gave us the information we needed to make the right decisions for our mom and told us exactly what to expect. Thank you for being there for us" -Family of St. John Providence Palliative Care patient