Palliative care refers to the comprehensive management of the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of seriously ill patients. Palliative care is appropriate at any point during an illness and can be provided at the same time as treatment that is meant to cure. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life through the relief of suffering and control of symptoms. Palliative care helps patients gain the strength to carry on with daily life, improves their ability to tolerate medical treatments, helps them better understand their choices for care, and provides support for their families and caregivers. Studies have shown that patients who receive early, palliative care often utilize fewer healthcare services and indicate greater satisfaction with their care, compared to patients who receive no palliative care.
It is important to note that palliative care is different from hospice. While hospice does provide palliative care, its primary focus is on terminally ill patients – those who no longer seek a cure for their illness and who are expected to live for about six months or less. Palliative care is designed to relieve suffering and improve quality of life, helping patients carry on with daily living. It is often provided while treatment is being delivered, and is available at any time during a patient’s illness.
Palliative Care: YOU Are a BRIDGE
This video animation compares palliative care to the foundation of a bridge. While illness may weaken the foundation, the palliative care team provides a stronger layer of support.
Cancer.Net - What is Palliative Care – An Introduction for Patients and their Families
This patient education video offers an introduction to palliative care, which provides support and relief to any person from the symptoms of cancer or side effects of treatment, regardless of age or type and stage of disease. It is led by Dr. Michael Fisch, survivor Holly Anderson, Dr. Jennifer S. Temel, and Dr. Dorothy M.K. Keefe.