Palliative care is medical care that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms without prolonging suffering. The goal is to prevent and relieve discomfort and to improve quality of life for people facing a fatal illness. Palliative care usually employs a team approach and may be provided at any time during a person's illness, even from the time of diagnosis. It may be given simultaneously with other treatments that attempt to treat the underlying disease.
Choosing a palliative care provider
The decision about the best place for your loved one to receive palliative care depends on your individual circumstances and should involve your family. In most cases, hospital units cannot provide the appropriate environment for longer term care, so look for palliative care programs that come to your home or provide a residential facility. Your medical team should be able to help you identify suitable places.
Palliative care resources
- Find a hospital in your area that provides palliative care (USA only)—an online tool from the Center to Advance Palliative Care that located palliative care centers near you.
- American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine—a professional organization for healthcare providers dedicated to expanding access of patients and families to high quality palliative care and advancing the discipline of Hospice and Palliative Medicine through professional education, support, research and public policy.
- Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA)—a professional nursing organization dedicated to promoting excellence in hospice and palliative nursing care.
- UCSF Palliative Care Service (PCS)—the UCSF interdisciplinary team includes physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, chaplains and pharmacists to provide patient care and support program development, education and research.