WHAT IS PALLIATIVE CARE?
Palliative care is patient-centered care
Palliative care is personalized care that expertly manages the physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms of serious illnesses.
It incorporates a wide range of therapies to address common symptoms like pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression, so people can have the best quality of life based on what matters most to them. Palliative care utilizes a variety of evidence-based medical, psychological, spiritual, and complementary therapies to support a person’s body, mind, and spirit at every stage of illness.
Palliative care is for anyone with a serious illness
Palliative care is for anyone living with a serious or chronic illness, from the moment of diagnosis onward.
It can be offered alongside treatments like chemotherapy or can be provided on its own. It supports patients and families exactly where they are, and it adjusts as new needs arise. Palliative care puts people in the driver’s seat of their own medical decisions, so the care they receive is the care they want. Patients, families, and caregivers all benefit from palliative care.
Specialized palliative care is a team approach involving experts from several disciplines
Palliative care teams generally include a physician, nurse, social worker, and spiritual care provider.
These interdisciplinary teams tap into each person’s expertise to best manage all symptoms of serious illnesses so that patients and families are fully supported. In palliative care, the interdisciplinary team is constantly collaborating. Each team member understands the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of care and is ready to assess and help address all types of suffering.
General palliative care can also be delivered by people who aren’t specialists
All health professionals, especially those working in primary care or serious illness specialties, should know how to provide primary palliative care. There aren’t enough palliative care specialists to serve everyone with serious illnesses. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains in all healthcare settings benefit from learning fundamental palliative care skills, such as pain assessment and management, compassionate communication and listening, and psychosocial support strategies, to better care for patients with serious illnesses. Many of those skills are not taught in medical schools and nursing programs, so continuing education in this area is much needed.