“Palliative care” (pal-e-uh-tive), which means comfort care, has come to have two meanings:
- It is the general term given to end-of-life care that focuses on patient comfort, rather than recovery and cure. (Hospice care, then, is a particular kind of palliative care.)
- It has in recent years come to refer to a particular healthcare service for people living with any serious illness. It is often simply referred to by a hospice or hospital as “our palliative care program.” Sometimes it may have a customized name such as “Palliative Care Consults,” or a name without the word “palliative” in it at all.
Simply put, palliative care is patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life for people with any serious illness by anticipating, preventing and solving the issues involved in serious illness. And because illness is a family matter, the family is part of the care.
More detailed information can be found below.
More Information about Palliative Care
Palliative Care facilitates patient autonomy, access to information, and choice, largely through conversation with the patient and family. Some of the main topics of conversation are around goals of care:
Palliative Care Is appropriate at any age
Palliative Care is available through the continuum of the illness
Palliative Care is provided by MDs, NPs, or PAs; and some programs use nurses, social workers, and other professionals.
Palliative Care may be provided in a variety of settings: private homes, hospital, skilled and assisted living facilities, and on an outpatient basis.
How Palliative Care Differs from Hospice Care
Palliative care is available at any stage in the illness
With palliative care services, no specific life expectancy is required
Palliative care may be provided for years
Palliative care can be provided along with curative treatments
Patients and families may access other reimbursed services from the community while they are receiving palliative care
Hospice is a specialized form of palliative care, delivered in the last 6 months of life
Triggers for a Palliative Care Consult