Palliative care is comfort care given to a patient who has a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer, from the time of diagnosis and throughout the course of illness. It is usually provided by a specialist who works with a team of other health care professionals, such as doctors, nurses, registered dieticians, pharmacists, and social workers.
- Palliative care is different from hospice care. Although they share the same principles of comfort and support, Palliative Care begins at diagnosis and continues during cancer treatment and beyond.
- Hospitals, cancer centers, and long-term care facilities provide palliative care. Patients may also receive it at home. Physicians and local hospitals can provide the names of palliative care or symptom management specialists.
- Palliative care addresses the emotional, physical, practical, and spiritual issues of cancer. Family members may also receive palliative care.
- Research shows that palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and family members, as well as the physical and emotional symptoms of cancer and its treatment.