Palliative care is a medical specialty that focuses on quality of life for those who are dealing with advanced illness. Primary functions of palliative care are:

  • To assist patients in clarifying their own thoughts and wishes for how they wish to live with their illness and how they wish to die, when the time comes
  • We seek to affirm patient choices and self-determination
  • Palliative care interventions neither postpone nor hasten death, but seek to make the experience as peaceful and comfortable as possible
  • To provide relief of troubling physical symptoms such as pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, anxiety, fatigue or sleeplessness
  • To improve communication between patients and their various medical doctors
  • To support patients in learning how to avoid medical crises by better day-to-day management of illnesses and symptoms
  • To provide emotional and spiritual support and guidance for patients and families living with advanced, life-limiting illness
  • To provide bereavement support for families who have lost a loved one

Palliative Care includes but is not limited to hospice.

Hospice requires that a patient has a disease that would be expected to take his/her life in six months or less if it progresses in the usual way. Palliative care does not have this type of limitation. All patients with a serious illness who have symptoms and questions about care planning, the future, effects of illness on loved ones and communication are eligible for palliative care. Your doctor may believe that seeing a palliative care professional, alongside your other doctors, may be helpful.

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