palliative care


The purpose is to relieve the pain and other symptoms a person has experienced and to improve the quality of life.
Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problems with sleep
  • Constipation
  • Side effects of medical treatments
The symptoms may be associated with illnesses such as:

  • Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Lung disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Heart disease

It is a central part of treatment for serious or life-threatening illness. Its aim is to treat the discomfort, symptoms and stress of serious illness - even when an individual is dying. 

Palliative care can provide:

  • Expert treatment of pain and other symptoms in order to have the best relief possible.
  • Open discussion about treatment choices, when appropriate treatment of a disease, management of he symptoms.
  • Coordination of care with all health care providers.
  • Emotional support for all involved.
People who receive palliative care report:

  • Pain and other distressing symptoms decrease.
  • Communication with physicians and family members are better.
  • Emotional support improves.
  • Care is more in line with their wishes.
  • Emotional and spiritual needs are being met.
This is a team approach and includes:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Chaplains
  • Nutritionists
  • Pharmacists
  • Counselors
Team members may spend as much time as it takes to help fully understand a condition, care options and other needs. They will ensure there is a smooth transition between  hospital, home care, nursing home, and other services.
Treatment should be well planned and account for all symptoms.
The team should help to set goals which lead to a more meaningful and enjoyable life while you receive treatment.

Health Insurance

Medicare and Medicaid usually pay for hospital palliative care. Many private insurance carriers also cover this care but check with your insurance policy to be sure.


Go to  for a listing of places which provide palliative care and more information about this topic.