October 2023

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Health Capsule

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a specialized type of medical care for people who have a serious or life-threatening illness. It can help relieve pain, discomfort, stress, and other symptoms. It aims to improve quality of life when a person is seriously ill.

You may receive palliative care while getting treatment for a serious illness. It can help you deal with side effects of medical treatments. You might consider it if you have pain or other symptoms caused by any serious illness. This can include cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, and more.

Palliative care can be provided in a hospital, during outpatient visits, or at home. It involves a team of specialists who focus on ways to improve quality of life for patients and their families. The team may include doctors, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, and others.

Palliative care is different from hospice care. Hospice focuses on the final months of life. People in hospice always receive palliative care to help relieve suffering. But you don’t have to be at the end of life or in hospice to receive palliative care.

If you think you might need palliative care, talk to your health care provider. Ask how to access palliative care in your area. You may need a referral to get palliative care services. It’s never too early to start palliative care if you have a serious illness. Learn more about palliative care.