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Common Palliative Care Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is palliative care?

Palliative care promotes symptom management and quality of life. Symptom management includes pain, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. This specialized care can be available at the time of diagnosis and can be received at the same time a patient is receiving curative treatment. Our team will actively support the family, help make critical care decisions and plan for the future to make sure the patient's goals are identified and achieved.

How do I know when to consider palliative care?

It may be time for palliative care if you or your loved one:

• Suffers from pain or other symptoms because of serious illness
• Experiences physical or emotional pain that is not under control
• Needs help understanding the situation of an illness and how to coordinate the needed care

How is palliative care different from hospice?

Palliative care can manage many distressing symptoms, but receiving palliative care does not necessarily mean you are dying. It provides support for you and your family, helping to improve communication between you and your health care providers.

Palliative care provides you with:

• Expert treatment of pain and other symptoms so you get the best relief possible
• Open discussion about treatment choices, including treatment for your disease and management of your symptoms
• Coordination of your care with all of your health care providers
• Emotional support for you and your family

How does palliative care help improve the quality of life?

With your primary health care provider, your palliative care team will combine vigorous pain and symptom control with every part of your treatment. Team members will spend as much time as you and your family need to help you fully understand your condition, your care options and your other needs. They also make sure you experience a smooth transition between the hospital and other services, such as home care or nursing facilities. 

This team approach results in well-planned, complete treatment for all of your symptoms during your illness. Your treatment plan will take care of you in your current condition and anticipate your future needs. Palliative care supports you and those who love you by maximizing your comfort. It also helps you set goals for the future that lead to a meaningful, enjoyable life while you get treatment for your illness.