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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care complements medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and the stress of a serious illness. Whatever the diagnosis, the goal is to improve the quality of life for both patient and family. It is administered by a team of professionals, and is guided by a medical professional that specializes in Palliative Care. An important difference between Palliative Care and Hospice Care is that Palliative Care can be provided along with curative treatment.

Availability

Palliative care can be provided in hospitals, outpatient palliative care clinics, long-term care facilities (assisted living communities, skilled nursing), or at home. Like hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance policies may cover palliative care. Veterans may be eligible for palliative care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Your health insurance providers can answer questions about what they will cover.

Proactive symptom and pain management is the primary concern for those on palliative care. A dedicated team of doctors, nurses, counselors, and volunteers provide the physical, emotional, and spiritual support needed for superior outcomes.

An interdisciplinary hospice team will:

  • Manage the patient’s pain and symptoms
  • Schedule regular visits by caring professionals: Doctors, RNs, LVNs
  • Maintain high caregiver-to-patient ratios to increase care quality
  • Assist with the emotional, spiritual and psychological needs
  • Provide medications, medical supplies and equipment
  • Instruct family members on how to care for the patient
  • Make short term inpatient care available when needed
  • Offers nutritional counseling
  • Provide speech and physical therapies