Palliative care helps people feel better by addressing physical, emotional and spiritual problems that may arise with a serious illness. It can also reduce or eliminate the side effects from medical treatments.
Palliative care is available to patients of all ages, at any stage of a serious illness. It is not only for patients with terminal conditions. Learn more about the differences between palliative care and hospice.
Effective palliative care starts with a conversation about the patient's goals and wishes. For example, people experience pain differently. Listening throughout the palliative care journey helps us manage pain and side effects at a level acceptable to the patient.
Improving quality of life by treating or managing:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Other symptoms that lead to distress
Families are also included in palliative support services
- Help patients, family and friends with the emotional and spiritual aspects of dying.
- Coaching for family caregivers
- Offer respite care, sometimes called relief care, when caregivers need a break or care becomes too complex
- Pre-bereavement and grief counseling
If you or a loved one are concerned about current levels of pain or side effects, you may benefit from an extra lay er of help from palliative care. Ask you doctor for a referral. Most insurance covers all or part of palliative care, just like other hospital or medical services.
Referrals are most common from these conditions:
- Heart disease
- COPD and other lung diseases
- Kidney failure
- Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
- Liver disease
- Parkinson's disease
- ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
- Eosinophil-Associated Disease (EAD)
- Huntington's disease