June 23, 2024
What Is A Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a healthcare approach that aims to provide comfort and improve the quality of life of people diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening disease such as cancer, heart failure or Parkinson’s.


Beyond symptom management, palliative care involves the coordinated effort of a group of professionals, including social workers, therapists, nutritionists and spiritual leaders. This team provides patients and their loved ones with the resources and guidance to manage the physical, emotional and spiritual burdens of the disease.


Read on to learn more about palliative care and its benefits.

Palliative care is a treatment strategy that helps patients manage the symptoms, stress and discomfort of a serious illness. It also supports the patient’s family or caretakers in an effort to improve the quality of life of all involved.


Administered by a team of palliative care providers, this care extends beyond medical treatment to encompass physical, psychological and spiritual support. This approach is beneficial for a patient’s overall well-being because it alleviates symptoms such as nausea, fatigue or difficulty breathing. It also teaches them how to cope with depression, anxiety or other illness side effects.


While palliative care shares similarities with hospice care, they are not the same. Anyone diagnosed with a serious illness can receive palliative care, whereas hospice care seeks to offer comfort and support to people nearing the end of life and their loved ones.

What is included in palliative care?

Palliative care specialists offer patients symptom relief, social support, education and care planning. These services supplement the patient’s primary treatment to help them and their family navigate the added care needs and responsibilities of managing a serious illness.


Symptom relief

Physicians and nurses can answer questions about treatment and offer advice on how to manage symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Palliative care also includes assistance from social workers, therapists or spiritual advisors to help manage anxiety or depression. These services may also be available to caretakers or family members who may have concerns or questions about treatment.


Social support

As managing a serious illness can put a strain on both patients and caregivers, palliative care also helps patients create and manage a support system. A palliative care team can refer a patient to support groups or other community resources where patients can meet others facing similar challenges.


Support groups in particular provide a space where patients can receive emotional support, share experiences and exchange strategies for coping with their particular illness and its side effects.


Palliative care specialists connect patients with groups or programs that teach them more about their condition and the resources available to them. That knowledge gives patients a sense of control over their care; it can help them manage their current symptoms and understand how the illness will develop over time.


Care planning

Through care planning, patients and their physicians collaboratively develop a long-term care plan that aligns with the patient’s preferences regarding treatment options, care settings and length of care.

Care planning may include spiritual guidance from a chaplain or other spiritual leader who can offer support or advice on how to handle the spiritual concerns that arise from having a serious illness. Patients can also be referred to financial advisors to help them plan and manage the costs of care not covered by insurance or Medicare

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