About Palliative Care
Palliate (verb): to relieve, soothe, alleviate, diminish; make a disease or its symptoms less severe or unpleasant
Palliative care is provided by a specially trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of living with a serious illness - whether the patient is in the hospital, at home, or at a long-term care facility.
Palliative care is based on the needs of the patient, not on the patient’s prognosis. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative or disease directed treatment like chemotherapy, surgery or dialysis.
Very often there are challenging and complex symptoms that accompany serious illness or are a result of the treatment for it. Some of these symptoms may be physical, such as pain, nausea, difficulty breathing or lack of appetite, but there are often other personal, social or spiritual effects. Many people who are living with serious illness experience feelings of anxiety, depression and difficulty coping or understanding the “big picture.” These are normal as well and palliative care addresses all of these.