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Palliative care is supportive medical care that focuses on relieving pain, symptoms and the stress of serious illness like cancer, dementia, heart disease, lung disease and multiple sclerosis. Unlike hospice, palliative care is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses, people living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life and need comfort care.
The palliative care team includes doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, chaplains and pharmacists. The team is available to help make difficult decisions, plan ahead and cope with problems as they arise. Care can be provided in the hospital, at home or a specialized facility such as a nursing home.
The palliative care team can:
We’re also available to assist with advance care planning to ensure that your care continues in the event that you’re unable to communicate your wishes directly to your health care providers.
Serious illness and medical treatments can cause pain, exhaustion, anxiety and depression. The palliative care team understands that illness symptoms affect your quality of life and can leave you lacking the energy or motivation to pursue the things you enjoy. The team also knows that the stress of what you are going through can have a big impact on your family. We can assist you and your family to cope with a difficult medical experience.
The team will make sure you experience a smooth transition between the hospital and other services, such as home care or nursing facilities. Palliative care workers provide a holistic approach to your plan of care based on your health and life goal. We look forward to working with you and your health care provider to help meet your specific needs so that you can achieve the highest quality of life.
If you are interested in receiving palliative care for your illness, the first step is to speak with the health care provider who is treating you. They can make a referral for palliative care.