What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care focuses on expert assessment and management of pain and other symptoms, assessment and support of caregiver needs, and coordination of care. Palliative care attends to the physical, functional, psychological, practical, and spiritual consequences of a serious illness. It is a person- and family-centered approach to care, providing people living with serious illness relief from the symptoms and stress of an illness. Through early integration into the care plan for the seriously ill, palliative care improves quality of life for the patient and the family.
Palliative care is:
• Appropriate at any stage in a serious illness, and it is beneficial when provided along with treatments of curative or life-prolonging intent.
• Provided over time to patients based on their needs and not their prognosis.
• Offered in all care settings and by various organizations, such as physician practices, health systems, cancer centers, dialysis units, home health agencies, hospices, and long-term care providers.
• Focused on what is most important to the patient, family, and caregiver(s), assessing their goals and preferences and determining how best to achieve them.
• Interdisciplinary to attend to the holistic care needs of the patient and their identified family and caregivers.”
From the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, 4th edition