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Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care aims to make a person as comfortable as possible, and prevent and relieve suffering. And, although it's part of end-of-life care, it can be used to care for people in any stage of disease. You may hear it called supportive care. Palliative care allows for medical therapies, but focuses on:

  • Improving quality of life

  • Relieving symptoms (such as pain) and stress

  • Reaching the best possible function (for instance, daily activities, physical activity, and self-care)

  • Helping with decision-making about end-of-life care

  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families

Talk with your healthcare provider or local hospital to see if palliative care is available in your area. Check with your health plan to see whether this type of care is covered.

What are the patient's rights?

Patient's rights are a list of rights to make sure that the quality of care, respect, and decision-making processes will be honored by the company, person, or institution providing care. These rights will be given to the patient and family before care starts. It's like a contract to protect the patient and family, and inform them of services and limits of the caregiver(s).

What are palliative care services?

The services most palliative care providers can offer are extensive. These are some of the services offered:

  • Support for the patient and family members

  • Equipment for delivery of medicines, nutrition, oxygen, and suction

  • Equipment including special beds, toilets, chairs, wheelchairs, and bath requirements

  • Skilled nursing care, healthcare providers, pharmacists, and other specialists

  • Medicine and nutrition support

  • Spiritual, religious, and cultural needs and requests

  • Special services for siblings or children (for example, support groups for families with young and teenage kids)

  • Respite care allowing the family to rest

  • Bereavement (grief) care

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Pat F Bass MD MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2021
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