Palliative care is a medical specialty with the goal of relieving pain, managing symptoms, and reducing the stress caused by serious illness whatever the diagnosis or prognosis. Palliative care can be utilized at any point in an illness and can be provided at the same time as curative treatment.
The primary goals of palliative care aim to improve the patient’s quality of life, provide relief from distressing symptoms, improve the effectiveness of medical treatments, and give patients more control over the care they receive by enhancing the patient’s understanding of treatment options.
Although palliative care is always part of traditional hospice care, hospice is not always part of palliative care. That’s the difference with stand-alone palliative care. Any patient with serious illness is eligible to receive these services and can continue to receive curative care while their symptoms are being addressed.
Both palliative and hospice care can be delivered at any location. Palliative care services are most often provided at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, outpatient clinics, or at home.
In addition, effective palliative care in this model also helps to avoid hospitalizations. When patients’ symptoms can be addressed in the comfort of their own homes—instead of requiring admission into the healthcare system—we help to bridge the support gap for seriously ill individuals in the community and help to improve their quality of life in the process.