Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing patients relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness, no matter the diagnosis or stage of the disease. Palliative care teams aim to improve the quality of life for both patients and their families.
- Focuses on the concerns of patients and their families;
- Pays close attention to physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, loss of appetite and confusion;
- Considers the emotional and spiritual concerns of patients and families;
- Ensures that care is respectful and supportive of patient dignity;
- Respects the social and cultural needs of patients and families;
- Uses a team approach that may include volunteers, social workers and spiritual leaders in addition to medical staff.
Palliative care does not necessarily end when someone has died. Family members may need support as they grieve the loss of a loved one and try to manage numerous strains and stresses. Bereavement programs are often part of the comprehensive care offered as part of palliative care.