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An Introduction to Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized medical care for those living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness, with a goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and their family.

A trained team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support, basing their care on the needs of the patient, rather than the patient’s prognosis. Palliative care is appropriate at any age or stage of illness and can accompany curative treatment.

Palliative care teams focus on the patient’s quality of life. They treat those suffering from symptoms such as pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, and more. They may also treat the underlying illnesses directly. Illnesses that may require palliative care include end-stage cancer, congestive heart failure, COPD, and ALS.

Some studies have shown that patients with a serious illness who receive palliative care live longer than those who do not have this additional level of support. In addition to treating your symptoms and providing emotional support, your palliative care team communicates with all your doctors to ensure everyone is on the same page.

You can search the Palliative Care Directory here.

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