Palliative Care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.
Palliative care specialists treat people suffering from many serious disease types and chronic illnesses, including cancer, cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more.
Palliative care focuses on the symptoms of the disease and the treatment, to helps you with a wide range of issues, including pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, shortness of breath, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. It also helps you gain the strength to carry on with daily life. It improves your ability to tolerate medical treatments. And it helps you have more control over your care by improving your understanding of your choices for treatment.
Palliative care is provided in a variety of settings including in the comfort of home. In addition, most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care. Where costs are a concern, a social worker from the palliative care team can help you.