Palliative care is an approach to care that focuses on improving the quality of life for patients and their caregivers coping with a life-threatening illness or injury. Palliative care centers on preventing, diagnosing, and treating physical, emotional, social and spiritual sources of distress. It is important to know that although hospice is a form of palliative care, palliative care is not hospice. While hospice is designed to meet the needs of patients at the end-of-life, palliative care may be given at any time during an illness or injury, from the point of diagnosis onwards.
What is Palliative Care?
- Uses the expertise of a multidisciplinary team (physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains) to comprehensively address the needs of a patient
- Provides support to help patients live as actively as possible
- Incorporates emotional and spiritual support into patient care
- Provides a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness or injury
- Can be incorporated early in treatment, as well as during the end of life
- Is not prognosis or diagnosis dependent
- Is attuned to providing care that is aligned with the patient’s values and goals