Definition of palliative care
Palliative care offers pain and symptom management and emotional and spiritual support when you face a chronic, debilitating or life-threatening illness. Palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your care team to help improve your quality of life during and after treatment for your specific medical concern. It is provided in tandem with life-prolonging therapies.
Palliative care specialists work with you and your family to foster a sense of personal control, to maintain and improve your quality of life, and relieve your suffering when you face a chronic, debilitating or life-threatening illness. The goal of palliative medicine is to help you assess, anticipate and alleviate your suffering.
Typical concerns addressed by palliative care include pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, delirium, constipation, difficulty breathing (dyspnea), fatigue and insomnia. In addition to pain management, palliative care can involve discussing your prognosis and goals of care, treatment options or diagnostic interventions, advanced care planning, and bereavement support.
Your palliative care team can include psychologists or psychiatrists, dietitians, social workers or chaplains, alongside your medical specialists.